(DCC Athletics release)
GLENDIVE – Playing in their last home game of the season, DCC sophomores Mara Johnson, Ejanae Coopwood and Alexius Foster went out in style by defeating the No. 2 team in the conference, Bismarck State College, 83-77.
Dawson Community College came out of the gates striking hard with a ferocious 2-3 zone, making it difficult for the Lady Mystics to score inside and outside. The Lady Bucs went into halftime leading 43-29. However, in the 3rd quarter, Bismarck would use a stifling full court 1-2-2 zone press of their own, and dominate the quarter outscoring DCC 29-19. That same full court pressure carried the momentum into the 4th quarter, cutting a 20-point deficit, and Bismarck led the game by 4 points late in the game. Dawson would call a couple of timeouts, make a few adjustments and kept their composure to knock down key free throws down the stretch by Tasia Moore, Foster and Coopwood, sealing the victory.
BSC benefitted from 30 points and 7 rebounds by the nation’s leading scorer Amber Stevahn, while Alexius Foster would lead Dawson with 27 points of her own and 6 rebounds. Ejanae Coopwood had 21 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Sarah Miranda chimed in with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Kitawna Little Light made a couple crucial three-pointers, having 9 points and 5 assists. Arena Plenty made some crucial late game baskets and had 5 points for the game. Moore chipped in with 9 points and 5 rebounds. DCC’s bench poured in 23 points.
Dawson outrebounded Bismarck 39-29 and shot better overall percentages for the game: 61% from the field, 55% from the three-line and 71% from the foul line. Bismarck forced 29 Dawson turnovers and converted 31 points from them.
“All year long we knew one thing this team always had, and that was fight,” said head coach Romeo Lagmay. “If a team has the fight in them, then everything else falls into place, especially respect. We cannot be more proud of this team winning in this fashion. We had lots of problems versus their zone press, but we kept our cool, and were determined to win this game. It’s great to have this momentum going into the conference tournament and sending our sophomores out with a smile.”
Dawson will play this Friday, March 1 at 7:30 pm against Lake Region State College in the opening round of the Mon-Dak Conference Tournament. The site will be held by regular season champions Miles Community College in Miles City. Winner of the opening round will face the No. 2 seed on Saturday in the semifinal round.
DCC’s men closed out the regular season with an emphatic win over the Mystics on Sunday, 103-69. The win gives Dawson a 19-11 record in the regular season and, more importantly, a 10-4 record in conference play. They finish the league in third place, one game behind NDSCS and two games behind league champions, Williston State College.
In their previous game the Bucs dug themselves a deep hole they couldn’t climb out of, but on Sophomore Day they built an early lead and coasted to the victory. Their lone sophomore player, Reece Green, got things going off the bat with a strong inside bucket and then followed it up with a free throw. Dawson forced Bismarck into turnovers on their first three possessions. Man Man Baker had a couple of key driving lay-ups and found his teammates on a couple of other drives. Coach Joe Peterson kept fresh bodies coming into the game and they kept up the intensity throughout the half. Marcus Stephens connected on all three of his attempts from long range to score nine points in the half and Devin Collins collected seven rebounds. Their offense was clicking as they shot 55% from the field, 44% from 3-point range and 88% from the free throw line, but it was their trademark defense that helped them build a big lead. They held Bismarck to 35% shooting from the field, 27% from the 3-point line and forced 11 turnovers while outrebounding them 21-17 in the opening half. The conference’s #1 scoring team was held to only 33 points in the half.
Dawson didn’t let up in the second half, as they built their lead all the way up to 36 points at one point. All thirteen Buccaneers scored on the night and five were in double figures led by Stephens’ 21 points on an efficient 6-9 from the field and 6-6 from the free throw line. He also contributed 3 assists and 3 steals. Others in double figures were Beau Santistevan with 12 points, Devin Collins with 11 points and 12 rebounds, CJ Nelson with 11 points and Cam’ron Dunfee with 10 points. Baker ended with 8 points and 5 assists. Sophomore Reece Green contributed 6 points and 6 rebounds in his final home game. The Mystics were led by KyJuan Johnson’s game high 22 points. The Bucs hot shooting cooled off a bit in the second half, but their defense was just as strong as they held Bismarck 22 points below their season average.
“We got back to playing tough defense tonight,” said Bucs head coach Joe Peterson. “That was missing Thursday night, but they responded to our challenge after that game. When we crank up the energy and intensity on defense, it feeds our offense. It was truly a team effort tonight and we need to play like this in the tournament if we want to advance.”
The Region XIII Division 1 Tournament will be hosted by No. 1 seed Williston State College on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Dawson will open with the Mystics Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. CST. The winner of that game will play the No. 2 seed NDSCS Wildcats on Friday night at 5:30 pm CST. The championship will be on Saturday afternoon.