The Dawson Community College Buccaneers moved into the Region XIII Championship Game with a 76-72 win over Lake Region State College. During the regular season these two teams split their games with each winning on their home court. This time they were facing off in the Regional Semifinals in Wahpeton, ND. The #2 seeded Buccaneers couldn’t find their range early on as they missed several scoring chances. It took three minutes before they finally scored their first point of the game on a Simon Falokun free throw. It also took the Royals a little while to find the mark too, but then they managed to build an early 13 point lead 25-12. The DCC starting guards Travon Hamilton, Brent Finn and Tate Savoie led the charge late in the first half and brought the Bucs within three points before Lake Region connected on a put-back to end the half ahead 39-34. It was a pretty even half in most statistical categories though Lake Region shot it a little better from inside the arc while Dawson shot it better from outside the arc.
In the first half most of DCC’s scoring came off of jumpshots, but they came out strong in the second half, taking the ball to the basket. Tyrell Harper beat his man to the hoop several times and Taylan Barrett followed suit. Their deficit quickly turned into a lead as they took control of the game. Finn hit a couple of big 3-pointers at crucial times and Dawson dominated the rebounding battle in the 2nd half by a margin of 11. They also limited the leading scorer in the conference, Lake Region’s Cedric Boone, to 9-29 shooting on the night, including only 1-16 from 3-point range. Boone’s lone 3-pointer came on a step-back move which cut the Dawson lead to 2 points, but they never regained the lead and Dawson iced the game from the free throw line.
It was a true team effort for the Buccaneers as five guys scored in double figures led by Finn’s 15 points and 5 rebounds. Falokun and Hamilton scored 13 while Savoie had 10. Harper earned another double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Boone finished with 22 points for Lake Region.
DCC Coach Joe Peterson praised the effort, “It wasn’t always pretty, but all 11 guys made significant contributions and we kept battling hard, even when we were down. Eventually the tide turned our way. Once we started getting stops and controlling the boards, it was a different game. Bret Vester gave us great minutes off the bench on both ends of the floor and Tate and Tyrell did a great job guarding Boone all night long.”
The semifinal win catapults DCC into the Region XIII Championship Game on Sunday at 4:00 pm CST in Wahpeton. They will be facing the home team and regular season champions, North Dakota State College of Science. Dawson beat the Wildcats on their home floor back on February 5th 72-70. NDSCS won at Dawson in January. The Wildcats have won the Region XIII Tournament the previous four years.
Whoever wins the Regional Championship Game on Sunday will play the District Championship against the Region XI winner on Wednesday night for the right to qualify for Nationals.
Dawson is now 24-7 on the year and are playing in the Regional Championship Game for the 3rd time in 4 years.