HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — The National Park College (NPC) Nighthawks men’s and women’s basketball teams swept their NJCAA Region II finale with South Arkansas Community College on Saturday, with the Nighthawk women defeating the Stars, 91-86, and the Nighthawk men picking up an 87-69 victory.
Before the women’s game, NPC honored its five sophomores—India Atkins (Bryant), Essieana Bennett (Houston, TX), Amaya Coakley (Killeen, TX), Kamyia Beal (Hot Springs) and Danielle Dickerson (Fayetteville)—for their outstanding contributions to Nighthawks women’s basketball.
In a high-scoring affair, the Nighthawk women (11-14) flourished early, racking up a season-high 31 first-quarter points. South Arkansas answered in the second quarter, however, outscoring NPC, 33-20, to take a 58-51 lead at halftime.
NPC turned up its defense in the second half, sparing a comeback opportunity that would keep the game close down to the wire. NPC grabbed the lead late, 86-84, with 1:22 to play and, for the second-consecutive game, relied on key free throws form freshman Kayla Richardson (Grannis) to soar to victory.
Atkins led the Nighthawks in scoring with 25 points, while Coakley added 20 points. Richardson and freshman Jhyla Calvin (Plumerville) finished with 18 and 13 points, respectively, in the win.
Before the men’s game, NPC honored its eleven sophomores—Kam Vick (Little Rock), Kylil Anderson (Fort Worth, TX), Kade Shaffer (Russellville), Jaylen O’Conner (Oklahoma City, OK), Sayvon Traylor (Atlanta, GA), Garett Powell (Springboro, OH), Rodrique Massenat (Trenton, NJ), Decorey Watkins (Little Rock), Notoris Nelson (Ashdown), Damarcus Johnson (Dallas, TX) and JoQuarius Valrie (Houston, TX)—for the impact they’ve made on NPC’s men’s basketball program.
In the first half, South Arkansas brought a strong defensive presence that prevented the Nighthawks (20-8) from pulling away early. In a back-and-forth battle, NPC won the first 20 minutes with a 40-33 halftime lead.
Led by Massenat and Valrie, NPC found its rhythm in the second half. Attacking the basket in the paint often, the Nighthawks built a double-digit lead with 11 minutes remaining and cruised to the team’s 20th victory of the season.
Massenat led the Nighthawks in scoring with 23 points, while Valrie and Vick added 19 and 13 points, respectively, in the win.
The Nighthawk men and women face South Arkansas Community College in the first round of the NJCAA Region II tournament Tuesday at Harding University in Searcy. The Nighthawk women tip off at 3 p.m. followed by the men at 5 p.m. Both games will be streamed live on the Nighthawk Network.
From NPC Nighthawks Communications