The Northeast Community College men’s basketball team mounted a late “fast and furious” comeback effort that brought the Hawks back from 23 down to within a single point Monday night against Little Priest Tribal College of Winnebago.
But after Moses Byekwaso’s potential game-tying free throw rimmed out, Little Priest still held an 85-84 lead with a minute remaining in the game. And then the Warriors did what they had done all night — put together a string of points — to finalize a 91-87 win over Northeast.
Early in the second half, one of those runs — an 11-0 spurt — had increased the Warriors’ lead to 60-37. But then the Hawks outscored Little Priest 19-7 during the next six minutes, keyed by nine points from Ben Moxness, to close within 67-56.
Moments later, with the Warriors leading 75-62, the teams began to trade baskets until Northeast put together its best offensive effort of the game beginning with just over two minutes left in the game.
Byekwaso swished a 3 from the right wing to spark the Hawks’ defense, which picked off four consecutive steals and turned them all into baskets — layups by Seth Coatta and Daniel Akuei, a 3 from Caleb Rihanek, and a three-point play by Coatta — to trail just 85-83. That’s when Byekwaso took a defensive rebound the length of the floor and was fouled, which gave Northeast the opportunity to tie the game.
“In the huddles we emphasized patience, just calming down, that it would all work itself out,” Hawks coach Dan Anderson said. “If we shoot well, we can beat about anybody.”
In the first half, two runs had helped Little Priest open the game with a 10-0 lead and, later, a 28-15 advantage as the Warriors used eight steals and nine Hawks turnovers to establish a 44-30 halftime lead.
Meanwhile, Northeast was shooting just 36 percent from the field, including under 28 percent from beyond the arc, and being held to one shot attempt on most possessions.
“We weren’t doing a very good job on the boards; we’ve got some big guys, but they don’t always play big,” Anderson said. “We can score points in droves, but we’ve got to do a better job of coming up with offensive rebounds. We’re not tough enough in there.”
Statistics reflected Northeast’s improved second-half performance as the Hawks’ shooting percentage increased to 50 percent and 57 percent from 3-point range while outscoring the Warriors 57-47.
Byekwaso and Coatta led Northeast in scoring with 25 and 22 points, respectively. Moxness (12 points) and Emmette Page (10) were also in double figures. Byekwaso also grabbed nine rebounds for the 9-6 Hawks.
Tyriek Railey’s 20 points led Little Priest, which improves to 7-5 on the season. Donte Innocent added 17, DaKwaunte Fields 14, and Reynald Laurent 12 for the Warriors.
Little Priest Tribal College 44 47 — 91
Northeast Community College 30 57 — 87
Little Priest (7-5): Tyriek Railey 7-16 4-4 20, Conner Hawk 3-9 2-2 8, Donte Innocent 6-13 2-2 17, Reynald Laurent 4-9 0-0 12, DaKwaunte Fields 7-10 0-0 14, Tyrese Brown 3-7 0-0 7, Earl Gresham 2-9 1-2 5, Jayden Sheridan 3-6 0-1 8. Totals: 35-79 9-11 91.
Northeast (9-6): Emmette Page 3-7 3-3 10, Moses Byekwaso 8-18 4-5 25, Seth Coatta 9-15 1-2 22, Daniel Akuei 1-3 0-0 2, Joel Ufele 2-5 2-2 6, Junior Oscar 0-0 1-2 1, Caleb Rihanek 3-9 2-2 9, Ben Moxness 3-10 3-3 12. Totals: 29-67 16-19 87.