Ancilla College will play Milwaukee Area Tech in the opening round of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Men’s Basketball Championship at the Mary Miller Center in Danville. IL.

The tournament begins Monday with a banquet for the 16 qualifying teams and play gets underway on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Ancilla’s game is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m.  Milwaukee was given a five seed and Ancilla a 12 seed. All teams are guaranteed two games in the tournament and a first and seventh place finisher will be crowned. If you lose in the first round you go into a consolation bracket.

An Ancilla victory will send them into a 9 p.m. game on Thursday against the winner of #4 Erie and #13 Morton. Ancilla defeated Morton 84-74 on Nov. 17 in Plymouth.  Lose and they play at 2 p.m. on Thursday against the loser of the Erie/Morton match up. After either of those second games, they will have to continue to win to keep playing.

Milwaukee Tech (28-5) and Ancilla have never met before on the basketball court. The Stormers did play four common opponents of Ancilla’s, including three MCCAA teams and South Suburban in Illinois. Milwaukee defeated all four of those teams, while Ancilla had wins against three of those common opponents.

The Chargers won their first NJCAA Regional 12, District 9 championship last Saturday after losing in the district championship game the past two years. The winner of that tournament gets an automatic bid to the national championship. Ancilla takes a 22-9 record into nationals.

First-year coach Brian Pearison was an assistant coach on last year’s 29-3 team that lost in the district finals. Ancilla lost the services of six of their top seven players from that team. But players who did not play much last year have made the most of that experience and are leading the team this year. Mike Green, Kyreese Parker, Albert Haskins and Jerron Tatum are key contributors on this year’s team, along with Ty’Sean Sheppard, the lone returner who saw considerable action last year.

Newcomers this year who are seeing a lot of court time are Mike Hemingway and Weston Sage who both start, and Josh Alcindor who is one of the first players off the bench.

Sheppard has been on fire the last four games as he has averaged 29 points and almost 15 rebounds a game. Green had a 27 point outburst in the district championship game. Everyone will have to contribute for Ancilla to be successful next week. Milwaukee is an up-tempo team with several skilled athletes that like to beat you down the court.

The tournament will be live streamed on NJCAA TV, which is a pay site. Fans can chose the entire tournament or pay by game. Ancilla will play at least two games in the event. Costs and instructions will be posted on the site once the games are scheduled for broadcast. The site is: http://www.njcaatv.com/landing/index