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5 PLAYERS SCORE DOUBLE DIGITS AS FTC MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM EARNS SPOT IN HVIAC TOURNAMENT
Five Towns College defeats SUNY-ESF 72-70 in a thrilling game at The Sound Arena.
By Sean Lanigan
On Sunday, February 20th, Five Towns College fans witnessed The Sound Men’s Basketball Team win their final game of the regular season, earning them a spot in the HVIAC Championships, which begin on Saturday, February 26th at the Sound Arena. The team pulled out the victory over SUNY-ESF 72-70 on Senior Day despite trailing by 18 points at the half.
In terms of scoring, it was a team effort for The Sound. They doubled their first-half point total in the second half from 24 to 48 points, with five different FTC players (Eian Williams, Damani Merritt, Nigel Braithwaite Jr., Luc Exil, Jan Filip Jagielski) reaching the double-digit mark.
Jan Filip Jagielski, a first-year student majoring in Business Management, led the way with 18 points, 8 of those points coming from the free-throw line. Jagielski couldn’t be prouder of this team, “This feels amazing. Never give up. That’s the thing about this team; we never give up. We play defense, we play hard, we come back, and we win. We’re ready for the tournament.”
Another first-year student, Eian Williams, who scored a career-high 20 points in the victory against King’s College eight days earlier, had another solid all-around game with 15 points. 13 of Williams’ points were scored in the second half with 7 assists and 5 rebounds overall. Williams also scored the thrilling game-winning basket, with seconds remaining on the clock. To Williams, it seems like a dream, “It feels surreal. We worked so hard to get here, practicing really hard every day, and we always believed in each other.”
Daniel Berrios, a sophomore Mass Communications major, is grateful for the opportunity to play for the title next weekend, “It feels really good. This is my first year playing. My first year got canceled because of Covid, so being in the tournament is going to feel incredible.”
For The Sound, the 2021-2022 season started slowly. They opened the season with a 1-3 record but finished strong, going 9-3 in their last 12 games to improve their record to 10-6. For Sound head coach Gregg Drzal, who was named head coach in 2018 after joining the coaching staff in 2016, his immediate reaction was to let it all sink in. “I haven’t started breathing yet. This is a fun group, and we’re looking forward to the tournament.”
The HVIAC Men’s Basketball Tournament begins on Saturday, February 26th at 2 pm in the first semifinal when #1 seed Berkeley College NY plays #4 seed, The King’s College at 2 pm.
The #3 seed FTC Sound versus the #2 seed Word of Life Huskies tip off at 4 pm.
Check out the Five Towns College Athletics page for game stats and updates on all of The Sound teams.