Nighthawks Win NJCAA National Championship

Nighthawks, fans and coaches gather for a picture after championship win.The National Park College (NPC) Nighthawk men’s basketball team (31-1) defeated South Suburban College, 84-79, in the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) Division 2 Men’s Basketball National Championship game Saturday, putting the finishing touches on its historic season.

Featuring 11 lead changes and battle that came down to the wire, the Nighthawks stood tall when it mattered the most, capturing the team’s first national championship crown.

Shooting 55.6 percent from the floor in the first half, the Nighthawks soared behind an 11-point effort from sophomore guard Keryn Collins (Dallas, Texas) to disrupt the Bulldogs’ rhythm. Despite early foul trouble, sophomore forward Nakavieon White (Odessa, Texas) led the team in rebounding with four defensive takeaways, one steal and one block over the first 20 minutes, while delivering clutch jumpers to keep NPC in front. Sophomore guard Ja’Bryant Hill (Dallas, Texas) sank two crucial three-pointers during the first half to propel NPC to a 44-38 halftime advantage.

In the second half, NPC continued to shoot the ball well, knocking down 65.2 percent of its field goal attempts. Sophomore center Taylor Harrell (Houston, Texas) was unstoppable down low, torching the Bulldogs’ defense for 20 second-half points on nine-of-nine shooting with two free throws. Collins and Hill added support with layups and free throws as NPC endured an offensive barrage from the Bulldogs. Leading, 82-79, With 3.4 seconds remaining, Hill sank two free throws to seal the win for the Nighthawks.

Harrell led the Nighthawks in scoring with 22 points and eight rebounds. Collins finished second on the team in scoring with 19 points, while Hill and White added 15 and nine points, respectively, in the win.

Amid the team’s celebration, Harrell was named the Pin Ryan Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Harrell finished with 50 points, 35 rebounds and two blocks throughout the Nighthawks’ four tournament wins.

Hill received named the Jack Cistriano Best Small Man Award, while NPC Head Coach Dillon Hargrove earned Coach of the Tournament honors. Collins and White received All-Tournament honors.

For more information on schedules, rosters and more, visit Nighthawk Athletics online. Fans can also follow the Nighthawks all season on social media.

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