Men’s Basketball: Moraine Valley tops Grand Rapids CC in NJCAA Division II tourney opener
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media March 20, 2013 9:20PM
Updated: March 20, 2013 10:40PM
In a game of runs Wednesday, Moraine Valley’s Karrington Ward could feel things turning his team’s way when he delivered a dunk and a long jumper during a 7-0 second-half spurt.
“You could definitely feel the momentum turn,” he said. “When you get those dunks, that changes the energy in the gym. We executed better down the stretch and got more stops.”
The run gave Moraine a 57-51 lead with 7:42 to go, and the No. 8 Cyclones never trailed again in a 73-68 win over Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College in a National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Tournament first-round game in Danville.
Ward, a Lockport alum, finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead Moraine (29-5), which will meet No. 3 Monroe College (N.Y.) in a quarterfinal at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
Gerald Dorsey (Tinley Park) and Marquell Pierce added 11 points each. Brett Kaiser (Stagg) and Dave Williams (Tinley Park) made it five players to reach double figures in scoring with 10 points apiece.
“It’s been that way for us all year,” Moraine coach Dedrick Shannon said of the team’s balance. “Everyone knows about Karrington, but we have a number of other guys who can go off for 20 points on any given night. When we share the ball, we’re tough to beat.”
Moraine fell behind 13-4 early as Grand Rapids had an easy time beating the Cyclones’ press, but Moraine responded with a 16-0 run as the press eventually took its toll in a big way.
The Cyclones, who forced 29 turnovers for the game, led 31-30 at the break.
The teams traded second-half runs before Ward ignited the 7-0 spurt that gave Moraine the lead for good.
Grand Rapids pulled to within two twice in the final six minutes, but Pierce responded by scoring on drives each time. He had eight points in the final 5:57.
“Our guys are tough,” Shannon said. “We did the things we needed to do and found a way to win.”