HUTCHINSON, Kan. — It was one of the longest days in NJCAA National Tournament history.
From a 10 a.m. tipoff between State Fair and No. 14 Shelton State to the final buzzer that sounded between No. 8 Trinity Valley and No. 6 Northeastern shortly after midnight. Six games of high-pressure junior college basketball wore on over 14-plus hours on Tuesday at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
The day took a physical toll on everyone involved. From all the fans that piled into the arena for a drama-soaked day to the tournament officials that tirelessly kept the tournament rolling along. There were also the players and coaches of all 12 teams that gave everything they had in pursuit of a national title.
No one, however, paid a bigger physical price than Indian Hills sophomore Roderick Bobbitt. With his team seconds away from elimination in Tuesday’s second-round battle with No. 18 New Mexico Junior College, Bobbitt joined fellow Warrior sophomore Lester Medford in crashing the glass to keep a basket that would keep IHCC alive.
Medford got the opportunity, getting fouled on a second-chance opportunity that led to a pair of game-tying free throws with 3.5 seconds left. Bobbitt got the brunt of the contact, leading to a broken arm and surgery that has ended the sophomore's two-season, three-year odyssey as an Indian Hills basketball player.
“Rod knew it as soon as it happened,” Indian Hills head coach Barret Peery said. “As soon as it happened, he told us ‘I’m in trouble.’”
So now what? What do the top-ranked Warrior do with one of their top stars and unquestioned leaders out of action for the remainder of the national tournament?
It’s a simple answer. One Peery’s squad has developed into a season-long motto.
“We’re ready to just keep on moving on and keep on playing,” sophomore Roosevelt Scott said. “We won’t stop.”