MCC men let a win slip away

Star Staff Writer

Two coaches were in agreement after Gillette College trailed for all but one minute and then notched an exciting 83-79 victory over Miles Community College in men’s basketball Saturday at the Centra in Miles City.

“We escaped,” Gillette coach Shawn Neary said.

“They did,” said MCC coach Chase Tait, whose Pioneers led by 12 in the first half, which ended 49-42.

The Pioneers stretched it to as many as 12 at 61-49 with about 14 minutes to play. With 11 minutes remaining, MCC led 65-56 before the comeback started. Still, after five straight points by the Pronghorns, MCC scored four in a row to lead 65-56.

Gillette caught up at 67 with 5:28 to go, only to have Gavin Gundlach hit a 3-pointer from the corner next to the MCC bench with 4:09 left. That produced a roar from his teammates and the crowd.

The Pioneers stayed in front until a controversial call with the score knotted at 75 and 1:04 to play. Perion Little was dribbling the ball and had it poked away by a defender. Expecting to retain possession, he let the ball roll out of bounds. But the officials gave the ball to Gillette, which went down to hit a 3-pointer by Ted McCree with 50 seconds left for a 3-point lead.

Erie Olonade scored to make it 78-77, but the decisive 3-pointer by Anthony with :15 left virtually decided the outcome.

“I’m not going to say anything about the referees,” Tait said when asked about that call and another, also against Little, when it seemed he had made one of the best blocks of the season.

The Pronghorns were behind the Pioneers in all but two major statistical categories — free throws and, the most important one, total points. That after beating MCC 103-68 in Gillette last month.

“We came out a little flat and we just never got going offensively,” Neary said, adding that the shooting stats — they were 28-74 overall (37.8 percent) and 6-27 on 3-pointers (22.2 percent) — were disappointing.

“That’s bad,” said Neary, the former MCC coach prior to Tait. “Not enough ball movement.”

MCC hit 31-of-75 (41.3 percent) from the floor and made only 8-of-33 on 3-pointers (24.2 percent).

“They made the ones that counted and one that put us away,” MCC’s Gundlach said after scoring 18 points, tying Little for team-high honors.

Olonade and Andrea Lo Biondo scored 14 points each, Jonathan Tchuisse had seven and Jaxon Hinch and Daquazemarr had four apiece.

“It was awesome,” Gundlach said. “We showed up to compete. We had the better of them most of the game.”

Tait agreed. “We outplayed them from start to finish,” he said. “We had a chance to win it and let it get away.”

“We definitely had chances (to win). They made the plays at the end,” Little said.

The Pioneers play Wednesday at Casper College.

“They’re really good,” Tait said. “It’s tough place to play.”

(Contact Abe Winter at or 406-234-0450.)