Monaca, PA – On Sunday, January 26, news broke that shocked and devastated the basketball world. NBA legend Kobe Bryant, a Philadelphia native, was tragically killed in a helicopter accident along with 8 others, including his 13-year old daughter Gianna. This news had an overwhelming impact around the globe. Over the past 24 hours, basketball players, fans, parents and children have mourned the loss of a not only a great basketball player, but a dedicated father and a husband. This tragedy sparked an outpouring of touching tributes for the late and great Kobe Bryant, including many NBA teams taking 24-second and 8-second violations to begin games with heavy hearts on Sunday.
On Monday, January 27, the Community College of Beaver County Titans hosted the Butler County Community College Pioneers. With a roster full of Philadelphia natives, the impact that Kobe Bryant had on CCBC’s young athletes was immeasurable. The news hit many of the student-athletes hard, with many lacing up their Kobe sneakers to take the court on Monday night in The Dome. Freshman guard Yazid Powell, a Philly native who grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, went one step further to show how much Bryant meant to him. With a pre-game assist from sophomore forward Chris Greene, Powell wore the number 24 in Monday night’s contest and scored 81 points to match Kobe Bryant’s career high, scored in 2006 against the Toronto Raptors.
Powell came out with the Mamba mentality, scoring from all over the floor. He connected on seven 3-point field goals and used his athleticism to get to the rim and score the basketball against swarms of defenders. The Dome erupted as Powell received a pass from sophomore guard Cyrie Coates along the baseline and powered up a shot between three Pioneer defenders, which went in and gave him 81 for the night. Powell was fouled on the play and had an opportunity for point number 82. As he approached the free throw line, he shot an airball to keep his total at 81, showing the ultimate amount of respect for his idol before checking out of the game.
Behind Powell’s moving performance, the Titans went on to defeat the Butler County Community College Pioneers in dominant fashion. The Titans posted 147 points, sparked by Powell’s 81. Sophomore guard Rasheed Browne was able to show his respect for Kobe Bryant in a different way. Browne was all over the floor, leading the Titans offense. He handed out 24 assists on the night and came away with 8 steals, both numbers worn by the late Kobe Bryant. Browne scored 15 points in addition and Coates followed with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Chris Greene, who gave up his number 24 to his teammate for the day, wore number 10, which was Bryant’s number for the USA Olympic Team, and scored 10 points. Lastly, sophomore forward Tyree Corbett was a monster on the glass, pulling down 21 rebounds on the night and adding 6 points to round out the Titans dominant performance.
Prior to the game on Monday night, The CCBC Titans moved up in the NJCAA Division II national rankings, climbing to the number 6 slot. The Titans extended their winning streak Monday with the 147-61 victory over Butler and improved to 18-1 on the season. The Titans will travel to the College of Southern Maryland on Wednesday, January 29. With a win there, the Titans would go undefeated for the second straight month. The road to Maryland will be familiar to CCBC, as they will travel to Frederick Community College on Saturday, February 1.