Bucs get the best of United Tribes in conference opener

Sunday, January 12, 2020
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Devin Collins

Despite dismal shooting in their Mon-Dak Conference opener, Dawson beat United Tribes 71-62 by forcing 30 turnovers and dominating the boards 56-40. The rebounding advantage also led to outscoring Tribes on 2nd chance points 17-0.

Dawson's defense was stifling from the start. UTTC was averaging 93.3 points per game in their first 13 games of the season, but only managed to score 5 points in the first 11 minutes of this one. Those five points came in the first 2:30 on a field goal by Tate Bear and a 3-pointer by Cecilio Montgomery. That put them up 5-0. They went scoreless for the next eight minutes. Unfortunately for Dawson, they couldn't take advantage of it because they were struggling with their shooting. They only managed 14 points in the first 10 minutes to lead 14-5. Nike Jiles made a 3-pointer with 9:17 to go in the half to make it 14-8. The scoring picked up for both teams after that. Beau Santistevan connected on two straight possessions and then Man Man Baker made a bucket to put Dawson up 29-20 in the closing minutes of the half, but Tribes ended the half with a 3-pointer by Lane Johnson. Dawson forced 16 turnovers and held the T-Birds to 34% shooting, but didn't build much of a lead because they shot 29% from the field and 11% from the 3-point line in the opening twenty minutes. Nobody for either team was in double figures in the half.

In the second half the offenses picked up. Tribes cut the deficit to 1 point in the opening two minutes, but Dawson responded with an 11-0 run on a Camron Dunfee 3-pointer, Roulervee Van's driving lay-up, and two straight 3's from Kell Schwers. Despite the T-Birds being down all game, they came back to take the lead 55-54 with 3:46 left on a basket by Tate Bear. Dawson scored the next 9 points in a row with a bucket by Baker, a free throw by Santistevan, and other field goals by Baker, Santistevan and Baker again. They were in control 62-54 with two minutes remaining. After a couple of free throws by Jiles, Kolten Hitt connected from long range, got a layup in transition and made four free throws to ice the game. Dawson outscored UTTC 18-8 in the last four minutes of the game and 42-39 in the second half.

Dawson's percentages improved slightly in the second half, shooting 38% from the field and 25% from 3, but it wasn't their offense that was the story. It was their defense and rebounding that dominated the game. They held UTTC to 34% shooting from the field and forced 30 turnovers. Dawson's bench outscored Tribes 42-11 and they had 20 points in the paint compared to 6 for United Tribes. The T-Birds scored 42 points from the 3-point line, 8 from the free throw line and only 12 from 2-point range.

On a cold shooting night, only two Bucs were in double figures led by Baker's 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists. Santistevan contributed 11 points and 8 rebounds. UTTC was led by 18 points from Cecilio Montgomery. All of his points came from long range. Nick Jiles had 16 points and 8 rebounds.

Dawson Coach Joe Peterson was pleased with the result, "Good teams find ways to win even when they don't shoot well. We couldn't hit the broadside of a barn tonight, but we played exceptional defense all night long and controlled the boards. We held them 30 points below their scoring average by forcing 30 turnovers and not letting them score in the paint. Man Man and Beau were huge late in the first half and late in the game and Kolten really came alive in the final two minutes to keep it out of reach."

Dawson moves to 12-6 on the year and 1-0 in the conference. United Tribes is now 8-6 and 0-1. Dawson plays again at home on Sunday at 4:00 pm vs. Lake Region State College.