OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Johnson County Community College sophomore guard Nick Larkin produced the best postseason performance in team history last night he helped punch the 3rd-ranked Cavaliers ticket to the national tournament with an 85-76 win over No. 1-ranked Highland Community College in the Region VI D-II Championship at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kan.
Larkin poured in 36 points, most ever recorded in postseason play in team history. He was 12-of-18 from the field with two 3-pointers, and 10-of-11 at the line. But that is not all he accomplished. He also contributed eight steals, which ties the fourth-best game effort in team history, along with five rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots while playing every minute of the contest.
"Nick had a game for the ages," said JCCC head coach Mike Jeffers "I'm just glad that I had an opportunity to watch."
The first half was highly contested with the Cavaliers holding a 34-32 advantage at halftime, but midway in the second half the Johnson County began to pull away and led 70-54 with six minutes and 54 seconds to play. The Cavaliers were able to hold off a late run by the Scotties to earn the programs 10 Region VI Division II title and earn the programs sixth trip to the NJCAA D-II National Tournament.
David Turner, who earned his fifth conference player of the week award prior to the game, had a big second half, scoring 13 of his 15 points. He was 5-of-6 shooting in the half and 3-of-3 from 3-point range. He also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked six shots. He now has 93 total blocks on the season and 154 for his career. Both totals are program records.
Sophomore guard A.J. Pleasant also provided key production in the second half. He scored eight of his 11 points in the half along with three assists.
Other key efforts were turned by freshman guard JaQuaylan Mays and freshman forward Lukas Milner. Mays finished with eight points, two rebounds and three assists. Milner had seven points four boards and two assists.
Jeffers also mentioned that MaCaleb Hughes was a key performer in the Cavaliers win. "MaCaleb's minutes were huge. He played great defense and provided solid mentally tough minutes for us. JaQuaylan, Lukas and A.J. wer also equally important."
Hughes finished with three points, a rebound and a steal but his main contribution was what he did defensively on the floor.
Taiveyhon Mason led the Scotties with 20 points. Tristen Hull and Luiz Machado Jr., each contributed 14 points and D.J. Doakes followed with 10 points.
With the victory, Johnson County improves to 28-4 overall. The 28 wins tie the second-most ever recorded in team history. Highland falls to 28-3. Two of the Scotties three losses were provided by the Cavaliers.