Men's Basketball • Tradition • 2007 NJCAA National Championship

NationalChampsHeaderThere's an old saying in sports that goes, "There's no 'I' in Team." However, there is a "C-h-a-p-s" in "Champs"!! The 2007 Midland College Chaparral basketball team completed its post-season run going 4-0 in the NJCAA National Basketball Championship and they did it as a team.

The Chaps completed the season with a 29-8 overall record including going 7-0 in the post-season (3-0 in the Region V Tournament and 4-0 in the National Championship Tournament). The Chaps played their opening game of the national tournament, in Hutchinson, KS, against Aiken Technical College, SC (28-7). In the contest, MC received solid performances from sophomores Rodrigue Mels (18 points and five rebounds); Jordan Brooks (17 points and eight rebounds); Namanja Calasan (12 points and six rebounds) and freshman PJ Hill Jr. who recorded ten points and five rebounds. The Chaps advanced over Aiken Tech 81-75 to move into the second round. Midland College shot 48% from the floor and 73% from the free throw line in the victory. Perhaps the only negative for the Chaps was shooting 3 for 15 (20%) from the three-point line.

The quarter-final round of the tournament featured the Chaps versus the Seminole State College, OK Trojans (25-9) who had defeated #1 ranked Indian Hills Community College, IA in their opening round game. The Trojans had also defeated the nation's #2 ranked team, Redlands College, OK in their regional tournament finals. Once again the Chaps were led by Mels who scored 18 points to lead all scorers and strong play by Calasan (13 points and four rebounds) and sophomore Kyle Victoria (12 points). As a team the Chaps shot a torrid 47% from the floor, 48% from the three point line and 72% from the charity stripe to defeat the Trojans. SSC player Robert Jarvis, who scored 34 points in the opening round win over Indian Hills, was held to 10 points versus Midland College. Defensively the Chaps used a rotation of players on Jarvis, including freshman Adrian Van Buren and Hill. MC advanced to the tournament semi-finals to the tune of 78-50 over Seminole State.

Midland College was playing its best basketball of the season and defensively the Chaps were the talk of the tournament. However, many detractors in the crowd believed the Chaps could not keep up its pace on both ends of the court especially on the legs of ten players. The Chaps felt differently.

Going into its third game in as many days the Chaps found themselves matched up with Coffeyville Community College, KS (32-4) and a partisan crowd who wanted to see their native Kansas team pull off a huge win over the surging Chaparrals. The Red Ravens featured an outstanding player in 6'7" freshman Daniel Payne as well as a solid cast. They were also a very well coached team who, unlike many teams in the tournament field, didn't just run and shoot on every offensive possession. Showing it could play any style of game, the Chaps slugged it out with CCC in the first half to go into intermission with a score of 30-19. Neither team allowed the other to get into an offensive rhythm as indicated by the shooting percentages. For the game, MC shot 41% from the floor and a surprising 8% from the three point line along with making 63% of its free throws. By contrast, the Red Ravens shot 24% from the floor, 6% from the three point line and 15% from the free throw line. Final score Midland College 57 Coffeyville College 34. With the win the Chaps advanced to its first national tournament championship game since 1987 and were seeking its first national championship since 1982. The Chaps were led in the Coffeyville game by Calasan (13 points and seven rebounds), Brooks (16 rebounds), Mels (11 points and three rebounds) and freshman Tyrone Appleton who chipped in with 10 points, seven rebounds and 2 assists.

The national championship game was an ironic pairing between the Chaps and nationally ranked Chipola Junior College, FL. The irony was the fact that Midland College was the pre-season #1 ranked team in the NJCAA with Chipola being selected as the pre-season #2 team. Many might argue with the ability of the NJCAA to choose national rankings at any point in the season, but it appeared they hit the nail on the head this season. In the game, the Chaps pushed their tired and sore bodies to the limits, beating back early charges by the Indians. The Chaps went into the intermission with a slim nine point lead, but not without confidence. In the second half, the Chaps increased their lead to as many as 12 only to have Chipola chip away at the lead. With six minutes to go in the game and the Chaps leading by five points, MC Coach Grant McCasland was called for a highly questionable technical foul after the Chaps Appleton was called for a foul. The result was three free throws for Chipola (two for the technical and one on the Appleton foul). Chipola capitalized and pulled the Indians to within two points of the Chaparrals. However, as was the case in each of the previous three games, the Chaps responded. This time it was Mels who came down and immediately hit a three point basket to increase the Chaps lead to five. From that point forward the Chaps were in control and steadily increased the lead late in the second half. Final score Midland College 94 Chipola College 75!! The Midland College Chaps were crowned the 2007 NJCAA Men's National Basketball Champions. Once again the Chaps were led by the Mels with 24 points, Appleton with 21, Brooks with 15 and Calasan with 14.

Coach Grant McCasland was named Coach of the Tournament (richly deserved) with Brooks and Calasan named to the All-Tournament team and Mels selected tournament MVP for his outstanding play.

Congratulations to Coaches McCasland and Alvin Brooks, III; the Chap basketball team which includes Appleton, Ryan MCCoy, Hill, Mels, Darris Santee, Van Buren, Calasan, Victoria, Brooks and Marcus Washington as well as red shirts Javier Nasarre Mora, Casey Riddle, Josh Wills, Wally Dunn and Jovanni Sims. Also special recognition and thanks to Sonya Mikeska, Marcus Barron, Kevin Fox and the many fans and supporters of Midland College and their athletic programs. Finally, thanks to Dr. David E. Daniel and the Midland College administration and board for their support throughout the years.
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