Men's college basketball: Roadrunners' success confirmed by Region 16
The State Fair Community College men’s basketball season was a memorable one.
The Roadrunners (20-10) led the Region 16 standings in February and finished third, earning a rare — if ever — first-round bye in the regional tournament.
State Fair won two regional road games for only the third time since the 2001-02 season and that included its first-ever triumph against Three Rivers.
“We did some good things at times,” State Fair coach Kevin Thomas said. “We had some good wins with the road win at Three Rivers being the biggest. It got the monkey off our back.”
Thomas also mentioned the 98-67 win at Missouri State-West Plains and the 86-80 home win over Moberly Area as signature wins.
The Feb. 16 win over Moberly Area knocked it out of first place in the region, while the Roadrunners remained in a tie with West Plains for first place.
The team posted its third 20-win season in four years and boasted three players who averaged double-figure scoring and made the all-Region 16 team. They are sophomore Kenny Chery and freshmen Kevin Punter and Joe Thomasson.
In 2011, Dominique Newton, Torres Roundtree and Matt Webb represented the Roadrunners.
Chery, who has verbally committed to play basketball at Baylor University, became the first SFCC player to make the all-region team in consecutive seasons since Marqus Mitchell did it in 2002 and 2003.
Chery, who has been nominated for the NJCAA All-America team, finished second to Jay Raulston, of Mineral Area, for the region’s player of the year.
The Canadian led the Roadrunners with his 16.4-points-per-game average. He led the team with 48 steals and made a team-best 44.4 percent (44 of 99) of his 3-point point tries.
“Kenny was the team leader and had a great year,” Thomas said. “(He) improved his scoring average, shooting and defense at times.”
Thomasson had a breakout season, averaging 14 points per game. He led the Roadrunners with 150 assists, which ranks second all-time on State Fair’s single-season list. He had 22 blocked shots and 47 steals, both second-best team totals.
Punter averaged 13.2 points, made 74 percent of his free throws, making a team-high 111 of them, and had 38 steals.
“Thomasson helped lead us in scoring and was a great distributor,” Thomas said, “and Kevin came a long way during the season, especially on defense.”
Sophomore Jacob Williams just missed a double-digit scoring average (9.17) and led the team with 154 rebounds.
Sophomore Ayo Ojo, who averaged 8.5 points per game, had team highs of 74 offensive rebounds and 23 blocked shots. He has signed to play basketball at Idaho.
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