Nighthawks claim title in win over Bulldogs

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The No.1 ranked National Park College (NPC) Nighthawk men’s basketball team (24-0) defeated Shorter College, 84-72, in National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) Region 2 play Monday, claiming the NJCAA Region 2 regular season championship. 

Patrick Punch

Sophomore guard Patrick Punch (Houston, Texas) could not miss in the opening minutes as NPC quickly built a double-digit lead, 15-5. The Nighthawks leaned on its defense to keep the Bulldogs’ shooters at bay, with sophomore center Taylor Harrell (Houston, Texas) and sophomore forward Anthony Swift (Las Vegas, Nevada) dominating the rebounding battle and padding the lead from the paint.

Leading 39-26 at halftime, NPC continued to control the tempo throughout the final 20 minutes by pressuring at the rim and holding the Bulldogs to tough shots at the perimeter. Punch continued to sink shots from the paint while Swift and sophomore guard Ja’Bryant Hill (Dallas, Texas) provided assistance from the free throw line as NPC completed the regular season sweep over Shorter College. 

Taylor Harrell

Punch led the Nighthawks in scoring with 18 points. Harrell and Swift each finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Keryn Collins (Dallas, Texas) and Hill picked up 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the win. 

The Nighthawks travel to North Arkansas College Thursday, Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. to continue NJCAA Region 2 play. NPC concludes the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 24, at SAU Tech in Camden at 6:30 p.m. 

As NJCAA Region 2 champions, National Park College earns the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NJCAA Region 2 Tournament, held at Harding University in Searcy. The Nighthawks will have a first-round bye to the semifinal round held Friday, March 1, at 6 p.m.