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Warriors Take Down #21 Southwestern College

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Sterling, Kan. – Sterling College is starting to play its best ball, and they are doing it at the right time. As they try to gain some national attention and help build the strength of play in the KCAC, Sterling is working one play at a time and one game at a time toward that goal. Having beaten an RV Evangel University team earlier this season, Sterling finally got their first win over a Top 25 team in the country this season. Cedric Rollerson became the hero in the 82-80 win over Southwestern College when he hit a running jumper from ten feet, just outside the lane with .4 seconds left in the game.

BOX SCORE

Sterling was the aggressor right out of the gate jumping out to a 5-0 lead on a Rollerson three and Lucas Briar jumper. Just four minutes into the game the Warriors had built the lead to nine at 12-3. For the next ten minutes, Sterling battled to maintain that lead. In that time, Southwestern would fight to cut the lead to as few as three points, but Sterling had the answer early and brought the lead back to nearly double digits. With the Warriors up nine and 7 minutes left on the first half clock, Cevin Clark for Southwestern began to take over. Clark scored 16 of the Moundbuilder’s final 20 points of the first half. Almost single-handedly he turned a 9 point Warrior lead into a 6 point Warrior deficit, including a three that he hit as time expired in the first half.

Sterling College rotated a lot of players in during the first half in an effort to keep up with the pace of the Builders. Rollerson was leading the way for Sterling at the break with 11 points and Derrian Reed was right behind with 8 points. Outside of the hot shooting of Clark down the stretch, Sterling held Southwestern in check. Heading into the locker room, Sterling found themselves trailing the #21 team in the country by six, 40-34.

Sterling came out of halftime with renewed vigor. Coming out of the break, Sterling went on a 9-2 run and took a one point lead. Sterling found offense early from Kavonte Kinney, making his first start of the season, Rollerson and Briar. Southwestern spent the next 8 minutes slowly rebuilding their lead, this time up to ten points. With eight minutes left in regulation, Sterling found themselves in their biggest hole of the night. For the next three minutes of play, all the attention turned to Sterling native, Lucas Briar, when he scored 7 straight points to cap a 10-0 run by the Warriors that tied the game at 67. It became a battle to win the last five minutes.

The beginning of the battle went to Southwestern who scored the next 5 points. Sterling methodically moved back to even with just over 2 minutes to play in regulation. As time wound down, the ten players on the court continued to increase their intensity and physicality. The Warrior crowd, aptly named the Gleason Goonies, added to the fierceness of the environment as they turned into a great 6th man down the stretch. In the last two minutes of play, these two teams were tied 4 separate times. Trailing by 2 with a minute to play, Reed made a strong drive to the basket, absorbed the contact, made the basket, and got the foul. He hit the ensuing free throw to give Sterling a 1 point lead. Sterling came up with a huge stop on the defensive end and Briar sunk a pair of free throws to give Sterling an 80-77 lead with 13 seconds left in regulation.

Southwestern moved the ball quickly down the court and relied upon, who else but Cevin Clark. Clark took a long three from the wing and missed, but the whistle blew for light contact on the shot as a Warrior defender flew by. Clark made all 3 free throws to once again tie the game at 80 with 9.4 seconds remaining.

After a timeout, Rollerson casually brought the ball up the court to the volleyball line with 3 seconds remaining. He made a hard move on the right side of the lane before pulling up from ten feet. As he faded to the right, giving him space to shoot, Rollerson released the ball with his smooth stroke and the ball tickled the twine as it went through the basket. The roar of the crowd was deafening as Rollerson stood in front of them basking in the glory of the moment. Southwestern had .4 seconds to get a shot off. They put up a three quarter court heave that landed nowhere near the basket. Sterling completed the upset over Southwestern College 82-80.

The Warrior defense stepped up to a big challenge keeping up with the fast pass, few dribble offense of Southwestern College. Lucas Briar and Cedric Rollerson each had 19 points for the Warriors. 15 of Briar’s points came in the second half. Derrian Reed added 16 points and Kavonte Kinney scored all 13 of his points in the second half. Kinney also led all players with 8 rebounds in the game. Chris Drake added 7 rebounds off the bench.

Sterling travels to McPherson College to take on the Bulldogs Saturday evening at 7 pm. The Warriors return home to the Gleason Center at 7 pm Wednesday against Bethany College and finish the week at home on Saturday against the Bethel College Threshers at 7 pm.

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