LOCHE SHELDRAKE, N.Y. ---- The Massasoit men's basketball team closed out the 2017-18 season by winning its first-ever NJCAA National Tournament game, defeating Minnesota West, 91-86, on Saturday afternoon at the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse on the campus of SUNY Sullivan.
The Warriors end their historic season with an overall record of 21-8, tying the most wins in a season since the 1995-96 season and partaking in its first NJCAA National Tournament.
No. 7-seed Massasoit nearly led wire-to-wire in the seventh-place contest against the eight-seeded Minnesota West Bluejays (19-14). The Jays led 5-2 early on, but the Warriors responded with a 13-1 run, featuring a trio of 3s by Rael Handy (Easton).
The Warrior lead would expand to as large as 14 in the first half, on three separate occasions. Rollsky Edouard (Holbrook) buried a 3 with 7.2 seconds left in the opening stanza to give the Warriors a 50-37 cushion at the break.
After intermission, Massasoit's lead would reach 20 points, 59-39, on a Handy bucket with 17:41 left.
A late Minnesota West run made things interesting in the game's final minute, but the Warriors hung on for their first NJCAA Tournament win in 50 years of basketball in Brockton.
Massasoit featured another balanced scoring attack, with four players scoring in double figures, led by a career-high 31 points by Mark Georges (Avon).
Rael Handy was named to the All-Tournament Team, as the sophomore finished with 21 points, seven assists and four rebounds in his final game in Green and White.
Bobby Belezos (Holbrook) added 14 points, 12 coming in the first half and Edouard added a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.
Another pair of sophomores playing in their final game at Massasoit includes Mark Munroe (Quincy) who added four rebounds and three blocks and Jared Costa-Haywood (Stoughton) who finished with seven points.
Massasoit bombed away from downtown, making 11 of 30, with five different players making at least one from beyond the arc. The Warriors made 7-of-15 from 3-point range in the first half to help build up a double-digit lead at intermission.