The North Platte Community College Knights advanced to the quarterfinals of the Region IX Tournament with a 71-42 victory Saturday over the Dawson Community College Buccaneers.The Knights (26-5) are ranked No 22 in the nation. They will face the Gillette College Pronghorns (16-12) in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 4. Gilette is seeded No. 4 in the tournament.
On Saturday, the Buccaneers started jumped out of the gate and took a 10-4 lead, but the Knights responded with a 36-2 and took a commanding 40-12 lead into the locker room.
Tim Simmons and Jake Maslo sparked the Knights with 10 points each by intermission.
Defense was the story in the first half, as the Buccaneers shot 17 percent from the field.
In the second half, the Buccaneers found the basket a little more, but when needed the Knights picked up the intensity and maintained their lead.
The Knights had four players in double figures. Reach Jiech and Jake Maslo both finished with 14 points. Tim Simmons contributed 12 and Ethan Montalvo had 11.
The Buccaneers committed 27 turnovers off 15 Knights steals while the Knights only had 3 turnovers. The Knights also handed out 22 assists on the night, led by Damon Brown and Montalvo who both finished with 8.
Should the Knights win on Monday the tournament continues Tuesday they will play in a semifinal game at 7 p.m. CST.
The championship game will be held at 8 p.m. on March 6.