(Sugar Grove, IL.) – Waubonsee Community College's men's basketball team survived a scare from visiting Elgin Community College, holding on for a 66-64 victory. On the strength of their three-point shooting, the underdog Spartans rallied late and nearly pulled off the upset. The victory improved the Chiefs' record to 16-8 overall and 6-3 in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC). Elgin dropped to 12-15 overall and 3-8 in league play.
What a difference a year makes. Last season at this time the Chiefs and Spartans were well onto their way to finishing as co-champions of the ISCC. Waubonsee then won the Region IV title and completed a top-12 finish at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament. The Spartans also won a Region IV crown and reached the NJCAA Division III National Title game before finishing second with a 31-6 overall record.
In this latest battle between the two schools, there were six ties and 13 lead changes. Elgin took their biggest lead at 23-20 midway through the first half. Waubonsee eventually secured a 41-37 lead at the break by shooting 62.5 percent (15 of 24) from the floor in the first half. Elgin stayed within striking distance by nailing seven three-pointers. The Chiefs began to pull away in the second half, grabbing a 59-48 lead midway through the second period.
Elgin then found the range again from long distance, connecting on four treys as part of a 14-2 run to pull ahead by one at 62-61 with 3:55 to go. Waubonsee then responded as Christopher Henderson scored inside. Moments later Jacob Niesman picked Keunte Howard's pocket and converted on a breakaway lay-up to give the Chiefs a 65-62 lead with 2:30 to go.
However, three straight Waubonsee turnovers gave Elgin potential chances to pull even over the next two minutes, which the Spartans could not capitalize on. Elgin's Xavier Williams then converted a pair of free with 0:15.7 left to make it a one-point game. Elgin then quickly fouled three times to put Waubonsee into a bonus foul shooting situation. With 0:07.7 to go Deland "DJ" Deere made the front end of a one-and-one, but missed the second attempt. Elgin got the rebound and quickly called timeout. On the Spartan's last possession, Williams' three-point attempt from the corner was just long as the buzzer sounded allowing the Chiefs to escape with the two-point win.
Darnell Wright booked a double-double, netting 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to lead the way for Waubonsee. Henderson finished with 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Deere tallied 10 points, handed out three assists and hauled down six boards. Jake Pike chipped in with 10 points, and Niesman dished out five assists in the victory. Williams led all scorers with 19 points for the Spartans.
Waubonsee's next game is Thursday, February 8, 2018 when travel to Prairie State College in Chicago Heights. The Chiefs return home to Erickson Hall next Thursday, Feb. 15, when they host the College of Lake County in ISCC action. Coach Jim Williams' women's team tips off at 5:15 p.m. against the Lancers, while Coach Dave Heiss' men's team is set to square off at 7:15 p.m. (CDT). Both games can been seen 'live' on-line at www.Waubonsee.edu/athletics or locally on cable television. Check with your local cable provider for the channel in your area. For more information on Chiefs' Athletics you can also go to NJCAA.org.