By: Andrew Mees, Director of College and Athletics Communications firstname.lastname@example.org
Fresh off regular season division titles, the Bloomfield College men’s and women’s basketball teams will each host the opening round of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Tournament this Saturday, Mar. 1.
Both clubs have earned the top seed in the CACC North Division, and will host the fourth-seeded team from the conference’s South Division in opening round action. The men’s game will be played first, with the Deacons hosting Chestnut Hill College at 2 p.m. The women’s game will follow, with the Lady Deacons welcoming Goldey Beacom College. Tip-off for the second contest is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
“I am so proud of the way our teams have played this season, and how they have conducted themselves on and off the court,” athletic director Sheila Wooten said of the programs. “We encourage everyone to come out on Saturday afternoon and see two great games. There is nothing like playoff basketball, and we hope the community can come out and see what it’s all about.”
A win Saturday will propel the teams into the Tournament Semifinals, which take place at Caldwell College on Friday, Mar. 7. The Tournament Finals for both men’s and women’s basketball will take place on Saturday, Mar. 8.
Earning their fourth North Division title in five seasons, the men’s team enters the Tournament looking to capture its fourth consecutive title and fourth-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament under head coach Gerald Holmes. One of the premier programs in the East Region, the Deacons dominated conference play in 2013-2014, amassing a 17-2 CACC mark and a 19-7 overall record. A tournament crown would give the Deacons seven during Holmes’ 12 seasons on the sidelines, ensuring the club’s sixth NCAA Tournament berth during the span.
Victorious over Chestnut Hill in the teams’ regular season meeting, Bloomfield edged the Griffins 79-76 on Dec. 7, 2013, behind a game-high 21 points from sophomore Claude Blue (Brooklyn, N.Y.).
“Our first goal every year is to win the North Division, and we have accomplished that this season,” Holmes said. “We get every team’s best shot throughout the course of the regular season, so I am very proud of what this group has accomplished to this point. We have a lot more work to do, and Saturday is the first step.”
Under first-year head coach David Caputo, the women’s team enjoyed a historic season in 2013-2014, capturing the program’s first CACC North Division title in its Division II Era (beginning in 2002). Posting a 17-9 overall record and a 15-4 mark in conference play, the Lady Deacons have utilized a suffocating defense and balanced offensive attack to enter the Tournament as the division’s top seed. Currently ranked sixth in the nation in points allowed (57.6 points per game), the club is also ranked eighth in the country in turnover differential (+8).
Meeting Goldey Beacom for the second time this season, Bloomfield topped the Lightning in a 65-53 road victory on Feb. 8 behind 13 points apiece from sophomore guard Ariel Wilson (Chesapeake, Va.) and rookie guard Tianna Smith (Nanuet, N.Y.).
“In my opinion, my girls are the hardest working team in the conference,” Caputo said. “I love this group more than any other group I have coached. Their growth on both ends of the floor has been amazing to watch each day. We have accomplished one of our goals, which was to win the North. But our ultimate goal is to win the Conference Tournament, and we get to chase that goal starting Saturday. We are ready to go.”
Fans unable to attend the game can watch via a live webcast of the doubleheader. Visit bcdeacons.com/showcase to see the action.