GLENDIVE — For the first time in the program's 63-year history, the Dawson Community College men's basketball team is headed to the Big Dance.
The Buccaneers held off No. 6 Indian Hills Community College Saturday night in the Division 1 North Central championship game, surviving a wild final 10 seconds that saw the Warriors miss a 3-pointer and two put-back attempts, in a 68-67 win that clinches a berth in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1 men's basketball tournament, set for April 19-24 in Hutchinson, Kansas.
— Dawson CC MBB (@DCCBucsBball) April 11, 2021
Dawson actually never trailed in the game, leading by as many as 17 points in the second half before Indian Hills made a furious rally in the final 10 minutes. The Bucs led 68-64 with 15 seconds to play when Curtis Jones made a 3 to cut the lead to one. Jones then fouled Michael Jok, and Jok missed the front end of the 1-and-1, giving Indian Hills a chance to win. On the ensuing possession, Jones missed a 3, Braxton Bayless then missed a tip-in, and finally Chris Payton missed his put-back attempt at the buzzer as Dawson stormed the court victorious.
The victory was even sweeter for the Bucs after Indian Hills ended their season in this game last year, 92-65. The Warriors were the overall No. 2 seed heading into nationals before it was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns.
Kennedy Brown, who has provided instant offense all season off the bench, led Dawson with 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in just 13 minutes. Jok scored 14 and led the team with nine rebounds while Cordell Stinson added 10 points and eight boards. Neither team shot the ball very well: Dawson was 28 of 66 from the field (42.4%) but just 3 of 16 from 3-point range, while Indian Hills was 28-of-72 shooting (38.9%) and 5 of 24 from 3.
Tyem Freeman led four Warriors in double figures with 20 points.
Dawson will find out its NJCAA tournament seed Sunday at 5 p.m. MST during the NJCAA Selection Show. Indian Hills is likely to get one of eight at-large bids into the tournament.