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The NJCAA Semifinals are set for Friday Night in Hutchinson, and a couple real barnburners entertained the fans at the Sports Arena as SaltLake, ThreeRivers, SewardCounty and South Plains advance into the Semifinals.
This one was just a five point game, with SaltLake leading 21-16 over Southeastern, when the roof fell in on the squad from Illinois. As SaltLake's 6-foot-8 Papa Samba Guisse (six points) and sweet shooting Brian Green (10 points) combined for 16 of their teams next 20 points to go on a 20-4 run over the last nine minutes of the first half; putting Salt lake in total control, 41-20, as the two clubs headed to the locker rooms.
Southeastern never recovered from the onslaught as SaltLake coasted in the second half to record a relatively easy 74-45 victory over Southeastern.SaltLake was led by Brian Green with 23 points, while Papa Samba Guisse chipped in with 10 points in the win.Southeastern was led by 6-foot Monie Hudson with 18 points and 6-foot-1 Austin Hill who added 17 points in the loss.
In what proved to be an instant classic, didn't look like it would end as it did in the first half, as Eastern Arizona up two over Three Rivers went on an 18-5 run to open a 28-15 advantage with five minutes to play in the first half.They dominated in the paint as 6-foot-11 Tim Kiewel and 6-foot-8 Markhuri Frison-Sanders combined for 13 points.Eastern had a 15 point lead on two occasions, but a late flurry by Three Rivers capped by a 50-footer at the buzzer by Bryan Sherrer cut the margin to nine, 38-29, at the intermission.
In the early going of the second half, Eastern built there lead to 14, 47-33, before Sherrer and company went on a tear to tie it at 61-all with 6:30 to play. It was still tied at 67 when Frison-Sanders gave Eastern Arizona the lead by two on a little turnaround move on the blocks.Unfortunately for Eastern it was their last lead as 6-foot-4 Kenny Bingham converted an old fashioned three point play to put Three Rivers back on top, 71-69, with just over a minute and a half to play.Bingham scored again to increase their lead to four as Three Rivers survived a number of long jumpers that didn't find their target to win a wild 75-73 victory over Eastern Arizona.
Three Rivers' top gun was Sherrer, who finished with 24 points including 9-of-11 from the foul line. He received solid support from Bingham who finished with 19 points and Jeff McClain who added eight points and a game high 12 rebounds.Eastern was led by Will Bynum and Frison-Sanders, who finished with 16 points each. Chop Tang chipped in with 12 points in this heartbreaking loss.
Semifinal No. 2 - Seward County (Kan.) (31-5) - South Plains (Tex.) (28-5)
This one was close from the opening tip as Northeastern Oklahoma too advantage of Darko Cohadarevic's foul trouble to hold a three-four point lead most of the opening half. But as happened in the Three Rivers game, a Seward County tip in just before the buzzer closed the gap to just one, 31-30, as the clubs headed to the locker room.
NEO built their lead to five points on a couple occasions, the last at 47-42 with just over 10 minutes to play.But Seward's backcourt duo of Reggie Chamberlain and Nick Burns led a late rush to tie it at 55-all with five minutes to play.Burns knocked down a deep three about a minute later to put Seward up 60-55 over Northeastern Oklahoma.A lead Seward never relinquished as they went on to a 67-61 victory over a tough NEO squad.
Seward was led by Nick Burns with 15 points, while Reggie Chamberlain chipped in with 13 points.Donald Dixon and Ervin Williams added 11 points each in the win.NEO's top gun was Dominique Gaines who finished with 19 points, while Reggie Mathis chipped in with 16 points in the loss.
Quarterfinal No. 4 - South Plains (Tex.) 66 - Indian Hills (Ia.) 61
This one started out very sluggish as neither club could score from outside the paint.Indian Hills created a slight edge going up six, 13-7, with 11:34 to play in the opening half.But, South Plains led by 6-foot-4 Jonathan Hall and Nick Okorie chipped away at the Indian Hills advantage to take their first lead at 23-22 with 1:44 to play in the half.That lead held up until the intermission.
The second half started with South Plains jumping all over Indian Hills as the Texans went on a 12-1 run to take a 35-23 lead with 16:14 to play in the game.It was still a 12 point advantage for South Plains with just over five minutes to play when Indian hills made their move.Backcourt bookends Dwight Buycks and Dwight Hardy led the charge as the Hills cut the South Plains lead to 61-58 with just 36 seconds to play.Would Indian Hills have another thriller up their sleeve?Not if Luciano De Souza has anything to say about it, as he hit three of four free throws in the final seconds to ice the 66-61 victory for South Plains.
South Plains was led by Jonathan Hall with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Okorie added 18 points and De Souza chipped in with 11 points and seven rebounds.Indian hills was led by their dynamic duo as Hardy finished with 28 points including four 3-pointers and Buycks chipped in with 21 points, also with four 3-pointers.