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MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Ryan Caddell leads DACC past Lincoln Land, into Region 24 semifinals

Mar. 9—DANVILLE — Danville Area Community College coach DaJuan Gouard told Ryan Caddell when he arrived on campus last year that he would be a guy taking big shots for the Jaguars.

A year ago, as a freshman, Caddell nearly sank a game-winning 3-pointer in the semifinals of the NJCAA Division II National Tournament.

Even though the Jaguars fell to the Macomb College Monarchs 69-67 in that contest and had to settle for a third-place finish, Gouard still had the utmost of confidence in Caddell.

So on Wednesday night with DACC clinging to a 54-52 advantage with 9.3 seconds remaining over Lincoln Land Community College in the NJCAA Region 24 quarterfinal contest at the Mary Miller Gymnasium, Gouard once again drew up a play for Caddell.

This time it was an in-bounds play. Caddell secured the pass and was immediately fouled. With just 8.1 seconds left, he sank both free throws to seal the 56-52 victory, allowing the Jaguars to advance to today's semifinals.

"I actually drew up four plays in that final minute to get him the ball," Gouard said. "When he is at the free-throw line, the whole gym is calm. He is a 90-percent free-throw shooters and I knew if I could get him the ball, we were going to win that game."

That's a very strong commitment from a coach, and Caddell appreciates getting those opportunities.

"It means everything to have his trust to go out and perform, and to have my teammates' trust and confidence in me," said Caddell, who finished with 11 points. "I enjoy being able to have the opportunity to ice the game and be the man in that opportunity."

But what about the pressure?

"It ain't no pressure," he said. "You just have trust all your hard work and dedication that you've put in — all the time and all the effort.

"You just have to trust your shot, trust your form and knock it down."

Caddell admits his shot in last year's National Semifinals is something he thinks about all of the time in practice, but not in the games.

"I'm trying to be in the moment and not think about negative things that happened in the past," he said. "I just wanted to be in the moment and do what I have to do to get the job done."

And it worked for the Jaguars (18-12), who avenged an 70-53 loss to the Loggers from last Saturday. It was a loss that dropped DACC to the No. 4 seed in the region and a rematch with Lincoln Land.

"It was definitely added some fuel to the fire," Gouard said. "When we left there (on Saturday), I told our guys that there was a high chance that we would have them again at home in the tournament.

"That's all we've been talking about. They beat us pretty easily in the second half and our guys kind of laid down a little bit. If there is one thing about me is, if we do anything else, we are going to fight after a team beat us by double digits."

The biggest difference for DACC on Wednesday night was defense.

After allowing Lincoln Land to score 70 points with 7-of-14 shooting from 3-point range and going 19-of-31 at the free-throw line with just seven turnovers in the regular-season finale, the Loggers (12-15) struggled to score 52 points. They were just 5-of-19 behind the arc and 5-of-5 at the line, but the biggest difference was 14 turnovers — including three shot-clock violations.

"We went to practice and we prepared for this game," said sophomore Terrence Ringo, who recorded his fifth double-double in the last month with 15 points and 11 rebounds. "We just got everyone locked in and on the same page defensively.

"It's win or go home, so everyone was communicating and working together."

That was especially needed as the Loggers overcame double-digit deficits in both halves. The Jaguars had a pair of 3-minute scoreless droughts in each half and they scored just 7 points in the final 4 minutes, 30 seconds but Lincoln Land managed just 6 points during that stretch.

"If we don't score, they can't score," Ringo said. "It's fun having games like this. We just have to come out on top."

Gouard noted that defense has always been an emphasis of his program.

"That's what we are made of. We we defend, we can win games," he said. "At this time of the year, it's not about offense. Everyone at this level can score the basketball, but who can sit down defensively, get stops, be a team and be unified when it comes to finishing possessions — those are the teams that are successful.

"That is what I'm going to be talking about and preaching for the next four days."

With the victory, DACC advances to play top-seeded Parkland, a 108-48 winner over Lewis & Clark College, in the NJCAA Region 24 Semifinals today at Rend Lake College in Ina. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

"Our job is not finished," Ringo said. "We have to keep going, keep with the flow."

In the other quarterfinal games on Wednesday night, second-seeded Illinois Central College defeated Spoon River College 70-64 and third-seeded John Wood Community College downed Rend Lake College 75-61. The Cougars and the Trail Blazers will meet in Saturday's second semifinal at 3 p.m.

Box Score NJCAA Region 24 Quarterfinal At Mary Miller Gymnasium Danville Area CC 56, Lincoln Land CC 52

Lincoln Land (52) — Jermontre Young 2-8 2-2 7, Kyle Leonard 0-3 0-0 0, Dane Foster 0-2 0-0 0, Camren Kincaid 9-16 3-3 23, Nick Cook 2-5 0-0 4, Jermale Young 3-12 0-0 8, David Laby 2-3 0-0 4, Stephan Douglas 1-2 0-0 2, Axel Laby 1-7 0-0 2, Brendenn Robinson 1-1 0-0 2, Kanye Montgomery 0-1 0-0 0, Mick Downs 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-60 5-5 52.

Danville Area (56) — Jameer Ajibade 1-5 0-0 2, Jaylen Simmons 1-5 0-0 2, Donovan Parker 2-3 0-0 4, Ryan Caddell 4-5 2-2 11, Terrence Ringo 6-11 3-6 15, Martez Rhodes 1-2 0-0 2, Darius Davis 3-9 2-4 8, JaeSean Martin 3-5 0-0 8, Jaydin Dunlap 0-0 0-0 0, Lorenzo McMillion 0-1 0-0 0, Payton Weemer 1-5 0-0 2, Trevin Williams 1-4 0-1 2. Totals: 23-55 7-13 56.

Lincoln Land 24 28 — 52

Danville Area 27 29 — 56

3-pointers — Lincoln Land 5-19 (Kincaid 2-5, Jermale Young 2-7, Jermontre Young 1-3, Leonard 0-3, Foster 0-1). Danville Area 3-13 (Martin 2-2, Caddell 1-2, Ajibade 0-2, Simmons 0-1, Parker 0-1, Rhodes 0-1, Davis 0-3, Weemer 0-1). Rebounds — Lincoln Land 38 (Kincaid 10, Jermontre Young 7, A.Laby 6, Cook 3, D.Laby 2, Douglas 2, Leonard 1, Foster 1, Jermale Young 1, Robinson 1, Montgomery 1, TEAM 3). Danville Area 37 (Ringo 11, Simmons 4, Ajibade 3, Caddell 3, Davis 3, Martin 2, Weemer 2, Williams 2, Parker 1, Rhodes 1, TEAM 5). Assists — Lincoln Land 8 (Kincaid 3, A.Laby 3, Jermontre Young 1, Cook 1). Danville Area 7 (Parker 3, Ajibade 1, Simmons 1, Ringo 1, Davis 1). Turnovers — Lincoln Land 14 (Jermontre Young 4, Kincaid 4, Jermale Young 2, A.Laby 1, TEAM 3). Danville Area 12 (Ringo 3, Davis 3, Simmons 2, Ajibade 1, Caddell 1, Rhodes 1, Weemer 1). Steals — Lincoln Land 7 (Kincaid 3, D.Laby 3, A.Laby 1). Danville Area 8 (Simmons 2, Parker 2, Ajibade 1, Caddell 1, Davis 1, Weemer 1). Total fouls — Lincoln Land 14, Danville Area 10. Fouled out — none.

Records — Lincoln Land 12-15 overall. Danville Area 18-11.