(Sugar Grove, IL.) –In the final game of the day second-seeded South Suburban College and third-seeded Waubonsee Community College battled throughout their Region IV Division II District 4 Semi-Final game. The Bulldogs, ranked 11th nationally in the final NJCAA Division II poll, gradually pulled away down the stretch to down the Chiefs 59-51. Waubonsee finishes the season with a 20-11 record overall, the 17th time the Chiefs' have reached 20 or more wins in Dave Heiss' 33 years as head coach.
An end-to-end defensive battle in the first half resulted in neither team being able to take more than a five-point lead. The Chiefs tied the game at 27 with 0:35 left on a driving lay-up by Jordan Williams after a swift pass in traffic by Christopher Henderson. South Suburban's Jordan Matthews then nailed a 12-foot jumper in the final seconds to give the Bulldogs a two-point lead at the intermission.
The second half featured more of the same as both teams contested every move by the other. A three-point play by Jamal Bailey at the midway point of the second period put South Suburban in front 43-37, their biggest lead of the game at that point. Waubonsee stayed within striking distance until the Bulldogs' Levane Blake was able to corral a deflection off two Chiefs' and scored to put South Suburban ahead 51-43 with five minutes to go. Two minutes later South Suburban broke the Chiefs' full court press and Brian Davis finished it with a two-handed slam for a 10-point Bulldogs' lead. The Bulldogs held off the Chiefs in the final three minutes, making six free throws in the final minute to move into the title game for the seventh straight year.
Bailey led South Suburban with a double-double, netting 22 points and hauling down 10 rebounds. Maththews added 13 points and four steals, and Courtney Carter contributed 11 points, five assists and five steals. Darnell Wright was the lone Chiefs' player in double figures, scoring 12 points and snagging nine rebounds. Jacob Niesman pulled down 10 rebounds, while the trio of Deland "D.J." Deere, Christopher Henderson and Jake Pike each booked eight points for Waubonsee.
South Suburban will play for the Region IV Division II District 4 Championship next Saturday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Waubonsee's Erickson Hall Gymnasium. The Bulldogs (26-6) will play top-seeded Morton College (20-12) in the title game. All the tournament games can been seen 'live' on-line at www.GoChiefs.com/RegionIV. For more information on the tournament, go to www.GoChiefs.com. The winner will advance to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Danville, Illinois beginning March 20