Men’s Basketball Downs Bergen CC to Complete Unbeaten Journey
By any conceivable measure, winning 18 games during a basketball season is a historical achievement, particularly for a program taking to the court for the first time after a three-year absence.
In fact, with a 92-83 win over Bergen Community College on Tuesday night, WCC officially did just that. However, for anybody who has been around the team this season to experience the first year of men’s basketball at WCC, as the clock ticked down at Bergen CC, a reality set in.
All of the technicalities in the world are out the door. All of the interpretations are no longer relevant. Paperwork no longer matters … the 2017-18 basketball season saw WCC take to the court for 26 games, and 26 times the Vikings outscored their opponent.
When it came to the actual competition, WCC went undefeated. It is plain and simple. And nobody can ever take that away from a group of young Vikings who will never be forgotten for their unbeaten achievement.
The record book may officially read “18-8” but an entire community will always remember 26-0. An outstanding effort on Tuesday night made sure of it.
As usual, a balanced scoring effort led Westchester to victory as four Vikings scored in double figures. As per the norm, the Vikings lived by the three-pointer, converting nine shots from long range. And, like always, Westchester won again. In fact, with the win, seven sophomores exhausted their NJCAA athletic eligibility having never taken the court and lost a game,
Tremaine Fraiser (Port Chester, NY/Trinity Catholic) was one of these sophomores, and on Tuesday night continued his mastery of the season, saving his best for last with a career-high 30 points, 21 of which came during the second half of play. Known more as a slasher than a shooter, Fraiser hit four three-pointers against Bergen Community College, every one of which came in handy as the host Bulldogs put up quite a fight.
Another sophomore, Raykwon Fenton was absolutely brilliant during the home stretch of the season, a brilliance that found its way to New Jersey on Tuesday as Fenton scored 17 points, including 11 during the first half when the Vikings got off to a slow start, but rallied for a 45-35 lead at halftime.
And then there were Gabriel Cruz and Pierre Lys. Are there two players on the team who came as far as this duo as the season went along on both sides of the court? Cruz was as good as ever on Tuesday, scoring 12 points, 10 of which came during a huge second half, while Lys finished with 12 points, but did all of the little things as usual to help lead WCC to victory.
Overall, 10 different Vikings scored during the win.
The only bad news that came on Tuesday night was that the season came to an end. As a first-year team, NJCAA rules prohibit WCC from competing in the postseason. However, if WCC proved anything this season, it is that the playoffs are coming for this program, likely every year, and that this is a program capable of competing on the national level very soon. And when that does happen, history will remember where and when the journey began, it was 11 young men who chose to start the program from scratch in 2017, and never lost a game.