Raiders advance to NJCAA title game
Teraes Clemmons gave the Raiders a huge spark with 15 points (photo by Jeff Gammons)
3/24/2012 – Raiders advance to NJCAA title game
Northwest Florida State punched its ticket Friday night to the NJCAA Championship game with a 77-64 win over Seward County (Kan.).
The Raiders led the majority of the game, including the entire second half as they moved to 3-0 all-time in final four games and to their second title game in school history since capturing their first and only national championship in 1994-95.
No. 2 NWF State will face No. 1 South Plains (Texas) (35-0) tonight at 8 p.m. in the title game.
"It's a great feeling," NWF State coach Steve Forbes said. "We have a proud program and we've been there before. I'm happy for our kids because they deserve to be in this game and on this stage.
"Not too many times do you get to play in a game that's No. 1 vs. No. 2."
With 13:21 remaining in the first half, NWF State (32-1) took an 11-10 lead and never surrendered it, finishing the half with a 38-25 lead.
Chris Jones remained hot, leading the way with 24 points, giving him a total of 77 points in the last three games.
But Teraes Clemmons, who has been "sick as a dog," according to Forbes, did his best to steal the show. Clemmons came off the bench to score 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting — including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc — to help the Raiders jump out to a double digit lead in the first half.
When Seward County (30-7) started picking up momentum in the second half, it was Clemmons who hit a runner and a mid-range jumper to help keep the Raiders out front.
"Teraes Clemmons was just unbelievable," Forbes said. "He just willed himself and played a great game, unbelievable."
Seward County cut the Raider lead to six in the second half, but a quick seven point burst by Jones and a steal and layup by Trency Jackson put the Raiders back in the driver's seat as they built their lead to 17 with under two minutes remaining.
"We just really played a great defensive game," Forbes said. "We helped each other. They shot 39 percent from the field. We made a decision that we were going to defend. I thought from the beginning to the end we just wore them down defensively."
Rod Rucker finished with 10 points and Jackson added 11 for the Raiders while Neiko Hunter added eight points and seven rebounds.