Pioneers off to solid 7-6 start to season

Pioneer Jonathan Dogbo splits the Williston State defense during their game earlier this season at the MCC Centra. (Star photo by Steve Allison)

 

It has been an up-and-down start for the Miles Community College Pioneer basketball season. But they have won three of their last four games, including a thrilling 79-76 win over Northwest College. The Pioneer men are now 7-6 on the season and 1-2 in the Region IX North Sub-Region.

"I think we're coming along," Pioneers Head Coach Chase Tait said. "We're getting better. We've been in a lot of close games; hopefully that will prepare us for down the stretch. Getting the big road conference win was really nice. Hopefully we're gaining some confidence. It's been up and down, hit and miss. We've been a bit inconsistent."

Of their six losses, only one was by more than 10 points, an 89-71 loss to Williston State in the second weekend of the season.

The Pioneers implemented a new offense at the beginning of the year, and it's starting to pay off for them. They are averaging 77 points per game and shooting 43 percent from the field.

"I think it's getting better as we go," Tait said. "With our main offense, we haven't executed as much as I'd like. We're scoring well and shooting is decent. It's getting better, more accustomed to it. But we're relying more on set plays and things like that."

Defensively, the Pioneers have also played well. They're holding teams to just 59 points per game, 46 in their three Region IX games. Teams are shooting 38 percent against the Pioneers and MCC is out-rebounding opponents 44-32 on average.

Ryan McCarty and Jonathan Dogbo lead a balanced offensive attack for the Pioneers. McCarty is scoring 15.6 points per game and Dogbo averages 15.1.

Teslim Idris scores 9.2 per game, while Quinn Smith, Conner Smyle and LaSalle Masse are all averaging around eight points per game.

Dogbo is the leading rebounder for the Pioneers, grabbing 8.1 per game. Tyree King has dished out 39 assists so far this season, while Smyle had 26 and McCarty 24.

The Pioneers are in Powell, Wyo., this weekend, where they will play two non-conference games before the Christmas break. When they return, the Pioneers will dive right into North Sub-Region play. They will be at Gillette College on January 4 and then will host Williston State on January 7 and Western Wyoming on January 10.

"We have to play the hottest team in the league in Gillette," Tait said. "Last week they had 112 and 113 in their two games. So we're going to have to slow them down. And then we get some home games. Since we've played three straight trips, we'll have the bulk of our games at home. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off."