Cobras, Jaguars split hoops doubleheader

Cobras, Jaguars split hoops doubleheader

CHAMPAIGN — Neither coach felt his team was tough enough in Wednesday's Mid-West Athletic Conference men's basketball rivalry tilt between Parkland and Danville Area Community College.

Fortunately for Jaguars leader DaJuan Gouard, it didn't wind up making a difference on the scoreboard.

Jordan Gary tallied 16 points as NJCAA Division II No. 8 DACC overcame rebounding woes and a first-half deficit to cut down No. 6 Parkland 67-66 at Dodds Athletic Center.

"It's just one of those things where we understand, in the conference, every road win is a big win," Gouard said. "We have taken care of business so far on the road. With us, it's just keeping it moving. This game was not a championship game for us, but it was a huge game."

By the end of the night, the event certainly had a title-bout feel.

The Jaguars (19-3, 4-0 M-WAC) pulled ahead 67-63 with 1:04 remaining on a Jayvon Landon layup. Following a miss by the Cobras (16-4, 2-2) and two failed free-throw conversions from DACC, Parkland point guard and Centennial product Quin Nottingham was fouled on a bid beyond the arc. After rising slowly, Nottingham drained all of his freebies to pull the Cobras within 67-66 at the 39.1-second mark.

But even after the Jaguars came up empty on their next possession, Parkland could not find the net on a flurry of shots before the final buzzer sounded.

"They were tougher. Bottom line," Cobras coach Anthony Figueroa said. "Better coaching, tougher players. It was a loss."

Parkland experienced more success in the opening 20 minutes, when it posted a 22-8 advantage on the boards and received a combined 19 points from Nottingham and Devonte' Daniels. But DACC hung around, thanks largely to eight points from Gary, and trailed just 38-33 when the squads hit the locker room.

Gary was a constant threat in the paint Wednesday for the Jaguars, but Gouard said league play had not been kind to the 6-foot-2 freshman leading up to this affair.

"This was probably his first good game in conference," Gouard said. "He's been struggling, and for whatever reason he brought it (Wednesday)."

DACC upped its intensity in the second half, aided by Nottingham flashing foul trouble throughout the final 20 minutes. The Jaguars pulled ahead with about 13 minutes to play as Gary and Antione Devine, who contributed 14 points on the night, proved difficult for the Cobras to stop even as Nottingham finished with 17 points and Isaiah Curry added an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double in defeat.

That was enough for DACC to add a signature victory to its resume. Gouard said he expects a fired-up Parkland crew for the Feb. 28 rematch at Danville, which means his Jaguars need to — you guessed it — get tougher.

"Our group has played well in (close) situations all year," Gouard said. "We've been having a lot of success at the end of games. Guys get tough. But I don't think we were as tough as we could've been or as tough as we've been in the past (Wednesday)."

Dooley, Cobras cruise. Ryan Dooley deposited 20 points to pace the Parkland women's basketball squad past Danville Area Community College 68-37 in M-WAC action at Dodds Athletic Center.

Dooley produced half of the Cobras' first-quarter output, tallying 11 points to push Parkland (16-5, 3-1 M-WAC) ahead 22-9 in the opening stanza.

Janiece Thomas added 13 points for the contest as the Cobras used a quick offensive pace and active hands on defense to stifle the Jaguars (3-18, 0-4).

"We've been working on trying to get some better ball movement on offense and better movement without the ball," Parkland coach Mike Lindemann said. "It was a little bit better (Wednesday)."

The Jaguars were behind the 8-ball early, as a trio of players missed the game due to injury. Among them was Chrisman grad Hannah Eddy, who's dealing with back trouble.

"We only had seven, so it's tough to play with seven players," DACC coach Miranda Payne said, "especially against a team that's as active as they are."

Amari Brodie's 11 points keyed the Jaguars, who also netted nine from Reagan Case and six from Prairie Central product Kylie Vogel.