(Editor's note: DCC Athletics release)
WAHPETON, ND - The Dawson Community College basketball men edged Lake Region State 76-72 in Sunday's Region 13 Tournament semifinals earning a championship berth for the sixth time in eight years.
DCC jumped out to an early 10 point lead in the first two minutes behind the hot scoring from Michael Jok, but then two minutes later LRSC worked their way back to tie the game at 10. Dawson held the Royals to two points in the final 7:36 of the half, finishing with a 15-2 run that was capped by a full court heave from Jok to Jalen Tot who lofted a 15 foot running bank shot at the buzzer to give the Bucs a 15 point lead. Dawson forced 16 first half turnovers, scoring 16 points off those turnovers.
Lake Region chipped away at the lead in the 2nd half by shooting 61% from the field and getting to the free throw line 17 times. Anthony Davis scored on a drive and then converted a traditional 3-point play to give Lake Region their first lead of the game 64-63 with five minutes left. DeAngelo Horn made a free throw to tie it up, but then Carson Henningsgard made his 4th 3-pointer to give Lake Region a three point advantage. Then Jalen and Jajuan Tot scored back to back baskets to put Dawson back on top. Clarence Daniels answered for the Royals to put them back up again. Jajuan Tot scored on the next possession to reclaim the lead for Dawson and they never relinquished the lead after that. Jok scored on a mid-range jumper and Horn made a big basket inside to give the Bucs a 74-70 lead. Jok made two clutch free throws and Jalen Tot drew a charge in the closing seconds to secure the win and a birth in the Region 13 Championship Game. Dawson forced 28 turnovers in the game.
"Our guys showed a lot of composure tonight. We controlled most of the game, but when they made their run and took the lead, I thought we re-focused quickly and locked down defensively," commented Dawson Coach Joe Peterson. "There was no panic. We dug our heels on defense and executed well on offense. We are looking forward to the championship game!"
Dawson was led by MIke Jok who scored 18 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Jalen Tot contributed 10 points and Kennedy Brown had a solid night with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
The Royals got a great effort from Clarence Daniels as he finished with a double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds. Carson Henningsgard contributed 16 points with 4 made 3 pointers and Anthony Davis chipped in 14 points.
In the other semifinal game, #20 ranked North Dakota State College of Science beat Bismarck State 87-77 for their 30th win of the year. NDSCS had 5 players in double figures led by Khari Broadway with 23 points and Connor Hollenbeck who scored 18 points.
No. 2 seeded Dawson 26-5 (18-4) will face top-seeded NDSCS 30-1 (21-1) in Monday's championship at 8:30 p.m. MST.
North Dakota State College of Science made their top-seeded presence felt in the Region XIII Conference Women’s Semifinal beating fourth-seeded Dawson Community College 76-60.
Dawson jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, but let the hot hands of Wichita State University signee Ambah Kowcun knock down four 3-point shots to lead the Wildcats to a 43-23 advantage at half. ND Science’s Ivane Tensaie and Arthel Massaquoi each had 10 points at intermission.
Brianna Bergum was the only Buccaneer in double figures with 11 points in the first half. ND Science led the rest of the game, but not without a typical fight from the Buccaneers. Dawson outscored ND Science 25-13 in the 4th quarter, making a total of eight 3-point shots total in the second half. The damage was done early though and Dawson ended their season being outrebounded 53-40, got outscored off the bench 17-13 and in the paint 12-4. The Wildcats also converted 25 points from Dawson’s 14 turnovers.
“We had a nice run. Science is tough this year with the right pieces in place. They definitely represent that #1 seed. There were times throughout the year we were very competitive with them till the end, but we just didn’t have enough firepower or depth to maintain,” said Dawson Coach Romeo Lagmay, Jr. “However, I am extremely proud of our players going through lots of adversity since the beginning of the season. We lost several players and an assistant coach, our starting point guard was out for the first semester with an injury, two season ending injuries for two other guards and one forward with a career ending injury; I’d say reaching a 20 win season in college basketball is an outstanding accomplishment that every college coach in America knows is a successful season already.”
Brianna Bergum led the team with 17 points, along with 6 rebounds and 1 steal. Eva Kingston scored 14 points (four 3-pointers made) with 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal. Hailee Brandon pumped in 13 points (three 3-pointers, 4-4 free throws), along with 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Olivia Williams chipped in with 10 points, including three 3-pointers, and a game high 3 steals.
Dawson ends the season with a 20-12 overall record and a 4th place conference finish.