Men’s College Basketball: Moraine Valley reaches NJCAA Division II national title game
By Steve MIllar For Sun-Times Media March 23, 2013 12:58AM
Updated: April 25, 2013 7:14AM
The comeback Cyclones did it again.
For the second straight night, Moraine Valley rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half, pulling off another upset and making school history in the process.
Lockport alum Karrington Ward poured in 25 points and No. 8 Moraine defeated No. 5 Brown Mackie College (Kan.) 81-75 in a National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Tournament semifinal at Mary Miller Gym in Danville.
“Our goal is try to wear you down by the end of the game” said Moraine coach Dedrick Shannon, who is resigning at the end of the season to spend more time with his family. “We might not have the lead at halftime, but we hope by the end we’ll get you pretty tired.”
The Cyclones (31-5) will meet No. 12 Rend Lake College — out of downstate Ina — in the championship game set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
It’ll be the first appearance in the title game for Moraine, which lost in the semifinals in 1990 and ’99.
The third time proved to be the charm thanks in large part to Ward, who added 13 rebounds and was 12-of-14 from the free-throw line, with the majority of those attempts coming in crunch time.
“Karrington Ward is just a great player,” Shannon said. “He’s a special player. I can’t say enough about him.”
Johnte Shannon (Thornwood) added 14 points, hitting four key three-pointers. Rich South product D.J. Hervey (6 rebounds) and Tinley Park alum Gerald Dorsey added 11 points each.
“It seems surreal,” Hervey said. “Earlier in the preseason, this is a goal for everyone. Only two teams get to actually make it happen, and we’re blessed to be one of them.”
Down by as many as 12 points early in the second half, the Cyclones trailed 60-52 with 10:15 to go before going on a 10-0 run that began with a Des’nique Harris putback and ended with a basket by Tinley Park alum Dave Williams (9 points) that made it 62-60 with 7:52 left.
The teams traded the lead four times from there, with Moraine going ahead for good when Marquell Pierce scored on a drive for a 71-69 with 2:09 to go.
The Cyclones hit 9-of-10 free throws the rest of the way and scored on drives by Ward and Williams to ice it.
Brown Mackie finished 28-6.
“We just look at it like a fight,” Hervey said. “It’s not over until the bell rings. Our main thing is to work 10 times harder than the other team.”