The Bobcat baseball team receives the state championship plaque at the end of the regular season. (Photo by Kellie Jefcoat, JCJC)

JCJC finds success from hardwood to diamond

(Editor’s note: This is the final part of a three-part series on the 2016-17 accomplishments of 

JCJC athletic teams.)

The JCJC men’s teams did not have quite the overall success in the win/loss column as the womne’s teams, but there was still plenty to cheer about.

The basketball team set a school record for wins, the baseball team spent most of the season ranked No. 1 in the nation and the football team rebounded from a losing record to post a 6-3 finish.

Multiple Bobcats also signed with major Division I programs to continue their post-JCJC playing careers.

BASKETBALL

Head coach Rahim Lockhart guided the Bobcats to a 29-2 record — a school record for wins — and the school’s second trip to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan.

JCJC went 1-1 in the nationals, finished in the Top 16 of the tournament and was rated No. 8 in the final regular-season poll.

Bruce Stevens (Bay Springs) was selected as an NJCAA Division I first-team All-American and a National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-American. Stevens, David Davis (Purvis) and Rickey Holden (Laurel) were selected for the All-Region 23.

Stevens committed to Ole Miss in the spring and Lockhart was also hired to be a part of the Rebels’ basketball program.

Prior to the season, Holden signed with Cal-State Bakersfield, which is led by former Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes.

BASEBALL

Second-year head coach Chris Kirtland guided JCJC to a stellar 46-4 record, a No. 1 national ranking for the regular season, the MACJC regular-season title with a 26-2 record and a Region 23 runnerup finish.

JCJC went 54-9 during its 2016 national title run, giving the Bobcats a 100-13 record in Kirtland’s first two years as head coach.

First baseman Erick Hoard (Brandon) and pitcher Ben Stiglets (Gulfport) were chosen as NJCAA first-team All-Americans and pitcher Logan Robbins (George County) was picked as an NJCAA third-team All-American.

Centerfielder Fred Franklin (West Lauderdale) won an NJCAA Gold Glove.

Mason Strickland (South Jones) was selected for the All-MACJC second team.

Franklin, Hoard and Strickland have all signed to play at Southern Miss next year and Robbins and Stiglets inked with La. Tech.

TENNIS

The Bobcats went 8-6 during the regular season and finished third in the MACJC/Region 23 Tournament.

Diego Leal (Colombia) won the No. 2 singles title and Chase Pennington (Madison-Ridgeland Academy) claimed the No. 3 singles crown in the state/region tournament.

The Bobcats finished 17th in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Plano, Texas.

Pennington advanced to the No. 3 singles consolation round semifinals. Leal and Taqel Lewis (St. Lucia) reached the semifinals of the No. 1 doubles consolation round.

SOCCER

Head coach Brendan Connolly’s team finished the season with an 8-8 record.

JCJC beat Northwest 5-2 in the MACJC/Region 23 quarterfinals before falling to Hinds in the semifinals.

Joseph Todd (Belfast, Northern Ireland) was selected All-Region 23.

Noah Billingsley (Sacred Heart) and Donaldo Martinez (West Jones) participated in the MACJC All-Star Game.

FOOTBALL

First-year head coach Steve Buckley led JCJC to a 6-3 mark in 2016.

Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (Charleston, S.C.) was selected as an NJCAA second-team All-American and running back Scott Phillips (South Jones) was chosen as an NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American.

Kinlaw, Phillips, Markel Winters (Tallahassee, Fla.), and Kelby Wickline (Stillwater, Okla.) were recognized for being All-Region 23 and All-MACJC.

Winters will play this fall at Ole Miss, Kinlaw has moved on to South Carolina and Wickline is at West Virginia.

Phillips, who is entering his sophomore season for the Bobcats, recently committed to Ole Miss.