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Javens has CCBC on the way back to the top

| Saturday, Feb. 17, 2001

CENTER TWP. - It's been just another season for the Community College of Beaver County men's basketball team this year, and at the same time it's been one like no other.

'I think we're the only undefeated team in college basketball at any level,' head coach Mark Javens said.

Javens 'thinks' that may be the case because some one told him so, but he isn't certain. He's also heard that his CCBC Titans have won 108 of their last 112 games in the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference, but Javens can't verify that as Gospel, either.

'I'm not much of a stats man,' he maintained.

Javens, 38, is into winning much more than statistics. And while the display case at CCBC's Golden Dome is overflowing with trophies and plaques and other baubles gleaned as a result of CCBC having won so frequently in Javens' eight seasons at the helm, it's another ring the Monaca native and product of CCBC and Slippery Rock seeks much more than records or recognition.

Javens' Titans went all the way and won the NJCAA National Championship in 1996-97.

Although they haven't been back to the national tournament since, their 24-0 record and No. 1 ranking in the NJCAA Division II heading into today's WPCC quarterfinal meeting with Pitt-Titusville (2 p.m. at the Golden Dome) suggest another climb to the top of the mountain is at least possible if not probable.

'That ranking means absolutely nothing to me right now,' Javens said. 'It gives a little more credibility to the program and the players like it, but to me it means nothing.

'I keep telling the players 'don't take winning for granted.' We haven't won anything yet.'

Nothing but 24 regular-season games in 24 tries this season. Nothing but six consecutive WPCC regular-season championships and five straight playoff titles. Nothing but an average of 29 games per season over the last six seasons. Nothing but four of the last five state championships.

CCBC is more a machine than a team. One that averages over 100 points per game and allows an average of 73 or so. One that presses relentlessly on defense and is capable of generating offense either in transition or through precision and execution in a half-court set.

One that has come to accept Javens' preaching and Javens' belief that 'the game is played from the neck up.'

The Titans have all of that going for them.

But all of that guarantees the Titans absolutely nothing heading into the postseason.

'In 1998, 1999 and 2000 we had teams good enough to get back to the national tournament,' Javens said. 'For whatever reason, we couldn't get there.'

The state tournament follows the WPCC event, and the Region XX Tournament after that. CCBC must win the Region XX Tournament March 1-4 in Hagerstown, Md., to advance to the national tournament, in Danville, Ill.

'Offensively, I think we have some kids ... we're more capable of scoring points,' Javens said, comparing this year's group with his 1996-97 national champs. 'Defensively, we're not where we were in '97.

'But until we win another national championship, I don't think it's fair to compare, to be honest with you. The 1996-97 team has to be my best because of that. If we win another national championship, then I'll look at it a little harder.'

But not before.

No matter the numbers.

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