Even though she is just a freshman, Alexis Brown of Johnson County Community College had no trouble answering the call when the Cavaliers needed her most.
On Saturday night, with the score tied and 1.8 seconds left in the game, Erica Nelson found Brown on the right wing. Brown took one step in and fired off a buzzer-beating jumper that lifted the Cavaliers to a 66-64 victory against top-ranked Parkland College in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II women’s national championship game at JCCC.
In the aftermath, as Brown navigated a midcourt pile of celebration, she had trouble finding the words to describe the moment. However, she was certainly not short on confidence.
“I just had to do me and let it fly,” Brown said. “I knew I had it.”
Brown had the hot hand at the time, having hit a three-pointer to put the Cavaliers ahead 64-61 with 1 minute, 38 seconds to play. She finished with 14 points off the bench, including 11 in the second half. She was five-for-13 from the field, with two three-pointers.
“We sure didn’t want five more minutes with them,” JCCC coach Ben Conrad said. “Alexis hit a big shot and we got fortunate. We executed down the stretch and I am just so proud of the kids for bringing that home tonight.”
Conrad, who said he had to have an assistant describe the last play since it was too hard to watch, also picked up his 300th career victory in the process. He now has a 207-32 record in seven seasons with the Cavaliers, which includes six consecutive 30-plus win seasons.
“That’s so far from my mind when you’re talking about a championship game, but it is still pretty cool,” Conrad said.
Nieka Wheeler, a graduate of William Chrisman High School, led the Cavaliers with 16 points and was tabbed as the tournament’s most valuable player. She averaged 19.5 points and eight rebounds during JCCC’s four games. Nelson, in addition to Brown and Wheeler, scored in double figures with 11 points. Kayonna Lee pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
JCCC won its final 12 games of the season and finished with a 34-2 record, an all-time program best.