(Editor's note: DCC Athletics release)
GLENDIVE -- The top two men's basketball teams in Region XIII will face off again in the championship game Monday night when Dawson Community College hosts North Dakota State College of Science at 6 p.m. Dawson won two of three meetings over NDSCS this regular season.
In the semifinal game on Thursday night, Dawson Community College beat Williston State 81-78. Dawson started the game relatively slow and Williston State took the early lead 16-9. Reggie Martin banked in a 3-point shot and then Charles Lampten followed it up with a dunk off a pass from Jalen Tot. Cordell Stinson then scored on a drive and made a free throw to cap a traditional three-point play. Williston answered back with a dunk by Keean Reynolds, but Dawson scored the next nine points on a jumper from Kennedy Brown, a 3-pointer from Michael Jok and lay-ups by Lampten and Riley Spoonhunter. In total it was a 17-2 run that gave Dawson a 26-18 advantage. The Bucs kept the margin around eight points for the rest of the half and then Jajuan Tot scored a couple of lay-ups in the closing minute to send the Bucs into halftime with a 40-30 lead. Jalen Dearing scored 13 points in the opening half for the Tetons, including three 3-pointers.
The Bucs held the lead the entire second half. The closest the visitors got was 71-70 when Dearing dialed another one in from long range, but Martin scored on a couple of drives for Dawson to keep the Tetons at bay. Dawson had a decent lead several times in the closing minutes but missed some clutch free throws to give Williston a chance at the end. Caleb Johnson made a 3-pointer to bring the Tetons within two points at 80-78. Jok made a free throw with seven seconds left to give Dawson a narrow three-point lead, but Williston wasn't able to get off a shot before the final buzzer sounded. It was the second straight year that Dawson beat Williston in the semifinals and their nineth straight win against the Tetons.
"It was kind of an ugly game, but we made the plays we needed to (Thursday)," Bucs coach Joe Peterson said. "Kennedy Brown and Reggie Martin gave us a big lift off the bench and I love how we kept our composure, stayed together as a team and kept believing. We are excited to get to host another region championship game here at Dawson."
Dawson was led by Martin's 16 points, three rebounds and three assists. Spoonhunter efficiently scored 14 points, and Brown added 13 points and five rebounds. Overall, the Buccaneers shot 51% from the field which helped them down the final stretch. They outscored WSC 44-26 on points in the paint and their bench outscored them 34-14 behind Martin and Brown.
Williston State College was led by Dearring's 25 points and four rebounds. Johnson added 18 points and four rebounds. Alonzo Linton added 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. The Tetons won the rebounding battle 39-31 and had 12 offensive rebounds which kept them close for the entirety of the game. Ultimately, Dawson's defense limited the visitors to only 42% shooting for the night, which proved to be the difference in the game.
The win moves Dawson to 21-2 on the season and it was their 11th straight win overall and 26th straight home conference win, dating back to January 2019
Dawson will host North Dakota State College of Science on Monday at 6 p.m. for the MonDak tournament championship.