CIAA Tournament: Men move to second round, women put up a fight but lose

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 27) – The men moved easily to the next round while the women lost a close one in the first round at the CIAA Tournament, ending their season.

Quincy January (Sr./Atlanta, GA) finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds and Kasey Bryant (Sr./Raleigh, NC) totaled 16 points, seven assists and five rebounds as five players scored in double figures for the Falcons in a 75-55 win over Chowan University at Bojangles’ Coliseum.

Offensively, the Falcons were sizzling from the floor. They made 53.8 percent of their shots including 46.7 percent from the three-point line on 7 of 15 shooting behind the arc. Their free throw shooting was impressive as the Falcons connected on 12 of 16 attempts for 75 percent.

Quiera Gilmore, playing In her Hometown of Charlotte, scored a career-high 19 points against Chowan.

On the rare occasions when they missed, a Falcons’ player was there to snatch up the rebound. The Falcons corralled 14 offensive rebounds which led to 16 second-chance points. Overall, they owned the boards as they outrebounded the Hawks 43-21.

They were stingy defensively, limiting the Hawks to 36.2 percent shooting. They held an opponent under 60 points for the third time in their last four games.

“We shot the ball well and defended well,” Falcons’ Head Coach MarQus Johnson said. “I always tell our guys that everything starts with defense.”

The Falcons had a brief letdown when the Hawks sliced an 18-point halftime lead to six midway in the second half, but they regrouped quickly to stretch the margin to 73-50 with under two minutes remaining.

Five Falcons scored in double figures led by three-time All-CIAA forward Quincy January (Sr./Atlanta, GA) and standout guard Kasey Bryant (Sr./Raleigh, NC). January, the three-time CIAA Defensive Player of the Year, finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds to win Food Lion MVP honors after the contest. Bryant scored a game-high 16 points, dished out seven assists and collected five rebounds at the point guard position.

All-CIAA guard Tyre Gathright (Jr./Wilmington, NC) scored 13 points and Ishmael Baldwin (Jr./Kinston, NC) added 12 points and seven rebounds. Kenneth Collins (Sr./Clayton, NC) contributed 11 points off the bench.

Point guard Kasey Bryant had 16 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds in the Falcons’ first-round win over Chowan

“We wanted to establish ourselves inside,” said Bryant about the Falcons who outscored the Hawks 32-12 in the paint. “We wanted to get the ball to Quincy or dribble drive to the basket. The main keys were having confidence and trusting each other to make the right play.”

The Falcons heated up quickly after falling behind 8-3 in the early moments. Seven players scored during a 25-4 run which put the Falcons out front 28-12. Collins buried a deep three-pointer with 13 seconds left on the clock to push the Falcons’ lead to 39-21 at halftime. The Falcons shot a blistering 65.4 percent in the first 20 minutes in building a big lead.

Eventually, the Falcons cooled off in the second half which allowed the Hawks to catch up and cut their lead to 53-47. But they shot well enough in the half (42.3 percent) to finish off the Hawks with a 22-8 run.

The Falcons (14-14 overall), the No. 4 Southern Division seed, take on Northern Division top seed Virginia State University in tonight’s quarterfinal game. The contest begins at 6:40 p.m.

The Lady Falcons gave regionally-ranked Chowan University a major scare in a first-round loss. Leading 62-59 with 9:17 left, the Lady Falcons were outscored 16-8 down the stretch, losing 75-70.

The No. 4 seed in the Southern Division, the Lady Falcons ended their season at 7-19 overall. Chowan (19-8 overall), the No. 5 Northern Division seed, advances to face Virginia Union University, the Northern Division top seed, in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

Despite the loss, coaches James “Art” Richmond and Wyndell Holmes were proud of the Lady Falcons, who gave a tremendous effort against the Hawks. Chowan, ranked ninth in the Atlantic Region, beat the Lady Falcons by 39 and 21 points during the regular season.

“They played good basketball today,” Richmond said about his Lady Falcons. “The people in the Coliseum saw that. This wasn’t the same Saint Augustine’s team that everybody saw in December. They started peaking at the end of the season.”

Quiera Gilmore (R-So./Charlotte, NC) scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and All-CIAA selection Kaaliya Williams (So./Richmond, VA) added 14 points, including 10 points in the second half. Angela Caraballo (So./Richmond, VA) registered nine points and three steals and Kamya Renwicks (So./Baltimore, MD) had eight points while Kelsee Arnold (Jr./Fayetteville, GA) chipped in six points.

The Lady Falcons rattled the Hawks with tenacious defense, forcing 24 turnovers and recording 13 steals, including four by Arnold and Ke-Ashe Lee (Sr./Roanoke, VA). One of the top Division II teams in turnovers forced, the Lady Falcons scored 34 points off Hawks’ miscues.

The defensive pressure bothered the Hawks as the lead swung back-and-fourth throughout the game. The Lady Falcons erased a nine-point deficit late in the second period to go ahead 38-33 at halftime. The Hawks scored the first eight points of the third period to regain the lead at 41-38, but Paulette Addison (Sr./Wilmington, NC) swished a short jumper from the corner before the horn sounded to put the Lady Falcons back on top 60-59.

The margin stretched to three on two Caraballo free throws in the fourth period before the Hawks went on their final game-winning spurt. In all, the contest featured 11 lead changes and 12 ties.

“A lot of people didn’t believe in us,” said Lee, who along with seniors Tomisha Davis (New Bern, NC) and Addison played their final game in a Lady Falcons uniform. “We had to believe in ourselves.”

The Hawks prevailed by dominating the glass. They won the rebounding battle 51-33 including a 20-11 advantage on the offensive boards. It led to 21 second-chance points for the Hawks.

Despite being outrebounded, the Lady Falcons nearly pulled off the win. They fought through adversity the entire game as several key frontcourt players were saddled with foul trouble. The Lady Falcons played key stretches without Gilmore and Williams, their top two scorers, yet manage to put themselves in position to win.

Both Danielle Weldon and Mariah Coker scored 17 points to lead four double-figure Chowan scorers. Chantel Roberts added 11 points and 16 rebounds and Joanne Williams had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

The contest marked the end of a rebuilding year for the Lady Falcons, but there were several positives to reflect on. Williams emerged as one of the top offensive threats in the conference, and the Lady Falcons developed an identity as a quick defensive team. They return nine student-athletes next season including Williams and Gilmore off a squad which more than doubled their win total from the last two seasons combined.

“I felt comfortable going into the tournament with these young ladies,” Richmond said. “I told them that we were the most dangerous team in the tournament. I didn’t think none of the other 11 teams wanted to play us, because they knew what we were capable of doing.”

— Office of Sports Information