Trailblazers in Region 24 Tournament championship game on Friday
March 8, 2013
INA, Ill. – The top-seeded Vincennes Trailblazers earned a spot in Friday’s NJCAA Region 24 Tournament Championship Game by defeating fourth-seeded Wabash Valley, 76-55, Thursday night in one of the tournament’s semifinal games.
The Trailblazers (30-2) will face No. 2 seed Southwestern Illinois (SWIC) at 8 p.m. (Vincennes time) Friday after the Blue Storm (21-10) turned away sixth seed Olney Central (21-12) in the other semifinal match-up Thursday.
VU’s Region 12 and the Region 24 make up the NJCAA’s District 16.
VU’s balanced scoring attack Thursday was paced by sophomore Deshawn Delaney’s 20 points. He scored 12 in the second half after sophomore Darius Carter, who finished with 17 points, had erupted for 16 in the first half. When the Warriors focused on Carter in the second half, Delaney, freshmen Paul Knapp (13 points, including 10-for-10 at the free throw line) and Loomis Gerring (nine points) and sophomore Monte Burney (eight points) led the way.
The group fended off Wabash Valley freshman guard Tyrone Sherman, sophomore guard Lawrence Kinney and sophomore forward Rontray Chavis as that trio combined for 23 second half points to keep the Warriors within reasonable striking distance for much of the game. Sherman wound up with 19, while Chavis had 12 and Kinney finished with 10.
NJCAA No. 7 VU led 60-50 in the late going and began trading points with WVC until Gerring’s dunk made it 66-53. From there, the Warriors missed a shot and Burney was fouled with a little more than a minute remaining to play. Burney missed the first free throw, but as he started to shoot the second, WVC Coach Dan Sparks was assessed a technical foul. Sparks then picked up a second technical and was ejected.
Knapp stepped to the line and hit all four technical free throws to stretch the lead to 70-53 and put the game further out of reach for the Warriors.
VU and SWIC will be playing for the automatic District 16 bid to the March 18-23 NJCAA DI Men's Basketball National Championship in Hutchinson, KS.