(DCC Athletics release)
GLENDIVE – The DCC Buccaneers opened the 2018-2019 season by finishing fourth in the Mon-Dak Conference Tournament in New Town, North Dakota. The Bucs experienced a little bit of everything in the three-day tournament including a blowout win, followed by a blowout loss and concluding with an overtime loss in the third place game.
The Bucs had a promising start on Friday in the first round where they built a 12-point halftime lead against Dakota College Bottineau and cruised to a 17 point victory, 106-89. They forced 24 turnovers and they made 39 free throws on the offensive end. It was a true team effort with all 12 players scoring, 10 of them collecting at least one rebound. Marcus Stephens led the way with 20 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Beau Santistevan was close behind with 19 points. Three others were in double figures with Reece Green netting 15, Kolten Hitt 11 and Man Man Baker 10.
In the semifinal, a hot Williston team put pressure on the young Buccaneers and forced them into a lot of turnovers which led to fastbreak points. The Tetons built a 21-point halftime lead and increased it to 28, before the Bucs battled back to make it respectable. Williston won 97-76. The Tetons forced 24 turnovers and scored 30 points off those turnovers. Stephens led the way again with 26 points and 5 rebounds. Devin Collins was the only other Buc in double digits with 11 points and he also pulled down 7 rebounds. Williston had six guys in double figures. The Tetons went on to win the championship game in a 28 point blowout of North Dakota State College of Science.
In the third place game, United Tribes jumped off to a quick start with returning All-Conference player Rob McClain hitting a fadeaway in the post and two three-pointers early on. United used a 12-2 run to go ahead 29-16. The Bucs battled back to tie it at 40 before United Tribes made a free throw to regain the lead at halftime. In the second half, there was a role reversal with Dawson taking control of the game on an 11-0 run to go up 10. The Thunderbirds looked like they were out of it before Joe Sazue netted back to back three-pointers to pull them within six points with a few minutes remaining. The Bucs still clung to a four point lead with a little over a minute remaining, but a couple of costly turnovers in the final minute gave United Tribes a chance to tie it up. Their season leader in scoring had a good look at the buzzer, but it rimmed out, sending the game into overtime. In the extra frame, Dawson just couldn’t get their shots to fall and the Thunderbirds made the plays to win 87-83. It was a heart-breaking loss in which the Bucs had the game in hand in regulation. Once again, it was turnovers that lost them the game. They finished with 33 turnovers on the night which gave United Tribes 34 of their 87 points. Dawson won most of the other statistical categories including a +16 advantage on the boards and a +17 in second-chance points. McClain finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks and 4 steals. Stephens led the Bucs in scoring for the third straight game with 25 points and 8 rebounds. Reece Green added 14 points and 10 rebounds while CJ Nelson had 12 points.
Dawson will be making their home season debut on Friday night against Northwest College at 7:30 p.m. The Bucs host Sheridan College on Saturday at 6:00 p.m.