La Junta, Colo.– Northeastern Junior College was the #7 seed from the South Subregion and a record of 13-17. Gillette College, the #1 seed from the North Subregion and fifth in the nation when the final national rankings came out. Many would think an easy win for the Pronghorns. Not Head Coach Shawn Neary of the Gillette College Pronghorns. He believed that NJC's record didn't properly represent how good the team was coming into the game. He was right. The final was 76-71 in favor of Gillette College.
There were a few lead changes and ties for the first 20 points on the scoreboard. However, NJC took a 23-20 lead midway through the first half and didn't let it go until deep into the second half.
Kavell Bigby-Williams, the big man down low for Gillette College,was called for two fouls in less than five minutes into the game and sat out for the majority of the first stanza. That gave Karamoko Cisse some time on the floor.
It was 38-33 in favor of NJC at halftime.
The Pronghorns tied it at 44, 46 and 58 and even took a brief lead at 61-60, but every time, NJC had a response.
With 53.57 seconds to go in the game and Gillette College down 71-70, Deishuan Booker of the Pronghorns was fouled and sent to the line for two shots. He made both, giving the Pronghorns the 72-71 advantage.
On NJC's next possession, Robby Jones was fouled and sent to the line for a one and one. He missed the first shot as it was snagged by Kavell Bigby-Williams. Bigby-Williams sent it up the floor for Gillette College as they passed it around the front court. That is where Booker found Cameron Oluyitan at the top of the key for an open three-pointer. He put it up, made it and was fouled with 15 seconds left in the game. He made the free throw to give the Pronghorns a final of 76-71.
Booker led the Pronghorns with 23 points ; Oluyitan had 21 in the game.
Gillette College will play Miles Community College at 5:00pm in the semifinal game Friday from Otero Junior College. You can hear the game on 93.3 The Legend and online at https://www.network1sports.com/station/kled.