BROCKTON, Mass. ---- The Massasoit men's basketball team earned the No. 6 seed and will face a familiar foe in nationally-ranked Bunker Hill on Wednesday at 7 PM in Charlestown in the opening round of the Regional 21 Tournament.
The winner will advance to the regional semifinals on Saturday to face No. 2 seed Bristol at 6 PM on the campus of Bunker Hill.
Massasoit finished the regular season at 13-13 overall/regional play and has qualified for the NJCAA Region 21 Division III Tournament all three seasons since transitioning down from the Division II ranks. The Warriors are the reigning regional champions from a season ago, after advancing to the NJCAA National Tournament for the first time in program history during the 2017-18 campaign.
REGIONAL TOURNAMENT HISTORY
A familiar matchup in regional tournament play, Wednesday's showdown squares up the Warriors and the three-seed Bulldogs (24-4, 23-3 R21) for the third-consecutive season in postseason action. BHCC, ranked No. 8 in the post recent NJCAA poll, ended Massasoit's season in 2016-17, before the Warriors returned the favor last year.
2017-18: Massasoit 82, Bunker Hill 80 (Region 21 Semifinals)
2016-17: Bunker Hill 71, Massasoit 60 (Region 21 Semifinals)
REGULAR SEASON SERIES
During the 2018-19 season, the Bulldogs got the better of Massasoit, sweeping the season series. BHCC captured the first meeting, back on Nov. 11 in Brockton, 85-80, before claiming the second matchup in convincing fashion, 99-66, in Charlestown on January 17th.
In the last meeting, despite the lopsided final score, Massasoit trailed by only three points, 39-36, at the half, before the Bulldogs exploded for 60 second-half points.
MASSASOIT (13-13, 13-13 R21)
STRONG FINISH: The Warriors won three of their final four games to earn the sixth and final playoff spot in this year's tournament field. The strong push down the stretch, featured an overtime road victory at Quincy College on Valentine's Day. In the win vs Quincy, Bobby Belezos poured in a career-high 34 points to lead the Warriors.
SEASONED STAPLETON: Head coach Jim Stapleton, in his 18th season on the Warrior sidelines, is the longest tenured head coach in Region 21. With a record of 271-185, Stapleton is the all-time winningest coach in program history.
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Sophomores Mark Georges (18.4ppg) and Bobby Belezos (16.5ppg) provide plenty of postseason experience, as both started last season during Massasoit's national tourney run. In addition, sophomore Anthony Cabrera (Brockton) also saw action off the bench in last season's regional final victory vs Bristol.
In addition, Belezos has started all 26 games for Massasoit this season, and Georges has totaled 866 career points over his two-year career.
BUNKER HILL (24-4, 23-3 R21)
Bunker Hill features one of the top scorers in the region in sophomore Jamaurie Coakley. The shooting guard leads the Bulldogs in scoring, averaging 20.7 points per game and surpassed the 1,000 point plateau earlier this season.
Sophomore Janard Jones also averages in double figures, netting 10.8 per contest, followed by Jaelen George-Bellitti's 9.5.
Inside, BHCC rotates six post players ranging in height from 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-7 as a formidable front court for the Bulldogs. All that size has led to BHCC topping the nation in both total rebounds per game (56.9) and offensive rebounds per game (23.6).
BHCC's offense is impressive as well, ranking eighth in the country by pouring in north of 90 points per contest (90.6).
Wednesday, February 27th
No. 3 Bunker Hill vs No. 6 Massasoit – 7 PM
No. 4 Gateway vs No. 5 Springfield Tech – 7 PM
Saturday, March 2nd – Bunker Hill CC (Charlestown, Mass.)
No. 1 CCRI vs Gateway/Springfield Tech – 4 PM
No. 2 Bristol vs Bunker Hill/Massasoit – 6 PM
Sunday, March 3rd – Bunker Hill CC (Charlestown, Mass.)
Championship – 2 PM