SARANAC LAKE — North Country Community College will meet a familiar opponent during the first round of the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region III tournament Friday.
The Saints will matchup with two-time defending champion Delhi, which also happens to be hosting the tournament, at 3 p.m.
“They’re 26-4 and one of the best defensive teams in the region,” North Country coach Chad LaDue said. “It’s going to be another tough battle.”
The Saints have matched up with the Broncos well this season, though.
North Country has come away with a pair of losses to Delhi, but both by a combined four points.
“We lost to them both times by two, once in double overtime,” LaDue said. “Steve (Carder) had 37 last time. He’s had success both times we have played them. He’ll have to have another big game for us.
“If we rebound the basketball as a team and hold them to one shot I think we’ll be ok. We’ll also need to limit our unforced errors — not have as many turnovers.”
In their last meeting on Jan. 19 in Saranac Lake, Carder went off for 37 points and 17 rebounds in becoming North Country’s all-time leading scorer, in an 84-82 loss in double overtime.
Michael Boyea also had a strong game for the Saints with 19 points, while Jared Heden tallied 15.
The Broncos were led by Quayshaun Mitchell and Stefan Bock, who each knocked down 21 points. Delhi was down by four with 25 seconds remaining in the second overtime, but were able to climb back for the win.
“We are playing the two-time champs and we are playing on their gym floor,” LaDye said. “We have nothing to lose. I told the kids to just go out and play Saints basketball.
“We are going to have to shoot the ball well. Getting Steve Poulter back is huge and hopefully Ian Henderson shoots like he did last game where he hit 10 3-pointers. I also think Michael Boyea at the point-guard position will be huge for us. He had a big game last time, hopefully he can have one more.”
The Saints were cruising to a top seed in the first part of the season, but injuries dropped them back a bit and LaDue thinks they are seeded around where they should be.
“Going into the second semester we were the third team in the region,” LaDue said. “I thought we could be a top-four seed. But, then the injuries started to come.
“The positive thing is that it’s hard to beat a good team three times — I feel we are a good team.”
CARDER REGION III
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
North Country Community College’s Steve Carder was selected as the NJCAA Region III Player of the Year for the 2012-13 season.
Carder was the top scorer in the region this season with an average of 23.2 points per game, and was second in rebounding with 12.5 rebounds per game.
Carder also is the leader in field-goal percentage at 61 percent, while becoming the all-time leading scorer for the Saints this season.
Steve Poulter was named to the third team in the Mountain Valley Collegiate Conference. Carder was also named the MVCC Player of the Year.