District IV Champions returning to Hutch
The Moberly Area Comm. College Men’s Basketball Team went on the road to Triton College Saturday evening and gained a hard fought 96-92 victory to take the NJCAA District IV Championship. The Greyhounds, who won the Region 16 championship this past weekend, broke Triton’s 82 game home winning streak in front of a packed house in getting their 2nd District Title in the last 4 seasons. Moberly gained an early 28-19 lead behind three made treys by frosh. guard Markelo Sullivan but saw Triton come back within 47-46 at the half. After leading 71-61 behind hot shooting by Alonzo Verge, Moberly battled serious foul trouble and trailed 85-81 with four minutes remaining. Three consecutive dunks by Sean Miller-Moore gave the Hounds the lead back and it was back and forth from that point to the finish. With the score tied at 91 all, DeMarcus Sharpe got a huge steal that MACC converted into a lay in by Verge to regain the lead. Ahead by two at 94-92, Triton drove the basketball but a highlight block shot by Miller-Moore and a conversion lay in by Tahj Small gave Moberly the final margin and the Championship of District 4. Moberly was lead in scoring by Alonzo Verge with 42 points (6-13 from three point range) and 7 assists despite only playing 28 minutes because of foul trouble. Sean Miller-Moore continued his fine all around play with 20 points and 11 rebounds, Small added 15 points and Sullivan scored 11. Alondes Williams had 27 points to lead Triton while Jalen Shaw and Ralph Cruz both scored 23 points. Moberly was 14 of 37 from three point range for the game while Triton converted 27 of 35 free throws.
“Just an unbelievably great basketball game between two very good teams in an electric atmosphere,” said Coach Pat Smith, “All of the ups and downs, ebbs and flow, our guys just hung in there and found a way to win. We battled adversity all night in terms of serious foul trouble, being outshot 35 to 10 from the free throw line, having to beat a team on their floor who had won 82 straight there and having to battle back late against a really quality opponent. The perserverance our players showed in just continuing to battle and play each play is something that I will always remember, it’s what we emphasize and this team just epitomized that tonight. So proud of them but we have more basketball left to play and I’m just so grateful to my players and staff for allowing us to return to the National Tournament. So pleased for our college and fans, no better place to be in March than Hutchinson, Kansas.”
The NJCAA Seeding show for Men’s Basketball will be on Monday, March 11 at 11:30 AM and the Greyhounds will find out who their first round opponent will be. Moberly improves to 27-6 on the season while winning their 20th out of their last 21 games while Region IV Champion Triton ends their season at 30-4.