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Mark DeCotis, Athletic Communications

Office:  321-433-5700, 321-759-4540 (C)

Conference Grind Continues on Wednesday

for BCC Men's, Women's Basketball Teams

January 21, 2013 - It's crunch time for Brevard Community College's men's and women's basketball teams.

Deep into their respective Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference schedules where victories are often the result of knock-down, drag- out, grind it out basketball, the men and the women face stern home court tests on Wednesday.

The men, who are 17-4 overall and 3-0 in the conference, are seeking to continue their best start on 13 seasons and maintain first place in the conference against arch rival Indian River State College at 7 p.m. in the Melbourne Campus gym.

BCC beat Indian River 78-66 in Fort Pierce in the conference opener for both teams on Jan. 12. Indian River is 17-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference.

For the women, Wednesday's 5 p.m. visit from conference-leading St. Petersburg College (14-6 overall and 5-0 in conference) marks yet another opportunity to turn their season around.

The women are 2-18 overall and 0-5 conference having lost 15 straight games including a 75-32 defeat at St. Petersburg on Jan. 9.

Men's head coach Jeremy Shulman is well aware of the challenges his team faces.

"With two big games looming this week for us we have to be very focused and ready to execute," Shulman said. "Against Indian River, we have to do a better job rebounding the basketball, and keeping their frontcourt guys off the boards. Six-foot, 7-inch sophomore center Jonathan Augustin-Fairell is a beast on the boards, and 6-8 sophomore Kai Deans has also been playing great for them inside as well.

"We are a little banged up, and need guys to really step up so we can win the battle of the boards. Defensively we have to continue to get better, and put forth a great effort against IRSC. We know IRSC will come ready to play, so we have to bring unbelievable effort against them, and protect our home court.

Sophomore co-captains Nyles Evans (a 5-11 guard) and Addison Spruill (a 6-4 guard/forward) continue to set the pace for BCC which was ranked seventh overall in the FCSAA last week.

Evans is averaging 16.6 points per game while Spruill is averaging 16.5. Freshman Jure Gunjina (a 6-7 forward) leads BCC in rebounding averaging 7.5 per game. Freshman Ben Patrick leads in assists averaging four per game.

For the women, who have played their last two games without sophomore co-captain and leading scorer Shaneece Stephens who is nursing a knee injury, Bellamy is looking to sophomore co-captain 6-foot forward/center Kasie Berry and 5-9 sophomore guard Shante Stevenson to pick up the slack along with 5-10 freshman guard Tomoriya Hamm.

Head coach Renee Bellamy is stressing the positive despite her team's struggles.

"We continue to work hard in practice when it comes to establishing and executing our game plan and the women continue to compete," Bellamy said.

"Having a losing record is no excuse for not continuing to give effort on both ends of the floor. After all we still have the opportunity to excel and win some ballgames.

"As for Shaneece being out, we coach the players we have and certainly are not lowering our expectations."

Beyond Wednesday conference games await against Broward College. BCC's men host Broward at 2 p.m. Saturday in Melbourne while the women travel to play Broward at 2 p.m. Saturday.

"Against Broward, a very talented team with a lot of scorers, we have to be very disciplined in our game," Shulman said. "They can score in bunches, and will make runs - so we have to stay mentally tough, and stick with our game plan."

Admission to BCC home games is free.