BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The men’s and women’s basketball programs at Niagara County Community College have made the NJCAA Division II championships an annual fixture on the schedule.

Both of the regional champion Thunderwolves teams qualified for this year’s 16-team national tournaments by winning East District A/B playoffs over the weekend at SUNY Sullivan.

The NCCC men, ranked No. 2 in the country with a 29-1 record, will make their fourth trip to nationals in seven seasons, while the 20th-ranked NCCC women (28-3) are going for the fourth time in five years. The NJCAA D-II tournaments start March 21, with the men playing in Danville, Illinois, and the women in Port Huron, Michigan.

Coach Bill Beilein’s men’s team extended its win streak to 14 games by beating No. 14 Sullivan 63-54 in the districts playoffs, continuing the program’s best season since 1977 when NCCC was national runner-up. The women’s team coached by Nate Beutel rallied for a 64-60, the Thunderwolves’ 11th in a row.

The national trips continue a long run of success for both NCCC programs. Beilein’s record is 293-113 (.722) in 14 seasons, and 164-47 (.777) since the the championship run began. The women have gone 171-32 (.842) over that seven-season span, and 259-64 (.802) since Beutel took over the program in 2012.


Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.