By Bailey Terry
The Blue Dragons advanced on to the NJCAA Tournament quarterfinals after beating the Trinity Valley Cardinals 73-61, on March 18 bringing their record is now 29-6. This win makes nine consecutive wins for the Dragons.
The leading scorer for the Dragons was DeShawn Freeman, Rocky Mount, N.C., and he had a double-double with 24 points and pulled down 10 boards.
Keanu Pinder, Perth, Australia, scored 14 points, three assists, two blocks and had a career-high of 15 rebounds.
Austin Budke, Beloit, added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Akbar Hoffman, Newark, N.J., score 10 points, all of them in the second half.
As the game began, the Dragons built a 10-4 lead with 14 minutes remaining.
Then half way through the first half, Hutch’s lead was 14-8.
Trinity Valley was not backing down. They had a 13-4 run to take the lead of 21-18 with just under five minutes to go.
The Dragons took the lead yet again as they went on a 12-3 run, the score now 30-24.
As the second half started, the Dragons gained their biggest lead 35-26, but the Cardinals forced two Hutch turnovers and score four-consecutive points to cut the lead down, 39-35.
The Dragons kept pushing their lead, but the Cardinals weren’t backing down.
The Dragons had the lead of 48-44 with just over nine minutes to play in the game.
Hutch had the lead of 51-46. Then they scored six unanswered points, which was ended with a Hoffman steal and a dunk by Budke, the score was 57-46.
Then the Cardinals came out of a timeout and immediately scored to bring the lead back down to nine points, 57-49.
At the three-minute mark, the Dragons lead was up to 15, 66-51, but the Cardinals scored the next five points to put the lead back down to 10 points.
Over the last three minutes, the Dragons kept the lead in double figures.
The ending score of the game was 73-61 with the Dragons winning and advancing in the tournament.
At press time, the Dragons were scheduled to play Georgia Highlands on March 19 in the Sports Arena at 8 p.m.