(Editor's note: DCC Athletics release)
GLENDIVE -- The Dawson Community College Buccaneers clinched back-to-back Region XIII men's basketball championships on Monday night in Glendive with a 60-56 win over the North Dakota State College of Science Wildcats.
The Bucs started the game quickly, but free throws allowed NDSCS to keep it close. Jajuan Tot helped spark Dawson with nine points in the early going and then Dawson finished the first half on an 11-0 run, giving the Bucs a lead of 32-25 heading into the locker room.
NDSCS's Khari Broadway scored the first five points of the second half to pull the Wildcats within two points, but that was the closest they would get the rest of the way. Dawson went up by as many as nine points with 4:39 remaining. Late free throws by Riley Spoonhunter and Tot helped seal the four-point victory.
"It's really extraordinary what these young men have accomplished," DCC head coach Joe Peterson said. "It was basically a brand new team with only two returners from last year's championship. They have overcome the challenges presented by COVID all season and the challenges of playing 21 conference games and the high expectations from last year's success, and replicated it, carving their own path and identity. They did it (Monday) like they have all year, with great defense and rebounding. What a special moment to share with a special group of young men, on and off the floor. I'm thankful that God has given me the opportunity to work at such a special place like Dawson and to be a part of this."
Dawson was led by Michael Jok's 12 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Tot and Charles Lampten both added 10 points to go along with five and six rebounds, respectively. Overall, the Buccaneers' stifling defense was the difference in the game, as they held the Wildcats to 29% shooting for the game and forced 15 turnovers. DCC didn't shoot it particularly well either but dominated the rebounding battle 51-38, including a 13-4 advantage on the offensive boards which led to a 15-5 edge in second-chance points.
North Dakota State College of Science was led by Broadway's 15 points and 12 rebounds. Both Rashaun Parker and JaQuan Sanders-Smith added 12 points and five rebounds each. The Wildcats' struggles came from behind the arc as they only made 6 of 26 from 3-point territory.
Before last year, it had been 49 years since Dawson won a region championship, but it only took one year to win it again. The Bucs are 22-2 on the season. They have won 12 games in a row and have 26 straight home wins against conference teams.
Dawson will host the winner of the Region XI championship game between Indian Hills CC and Southeastern CC on Saturday in Glendive at 6 p.m.