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Rochester edges Bay College in regional hoops final

ESCANABA — So close and yet so far.

The Bay College men were within a heartbeat of the Region 13 basketball title but were unable to convert on their final possession in a 66-65 loss to Rochester (Minn.) Community & Technical College in the championship game.

Rochester (12-5) will host its next post-season contest Saturday. Bay finished 9-15.

Bay reached the title contest by eliminating United Tribal College of Bismarck, N.D. 82-58 in Saturday’s semifinals.

The Norse led 43-38 at halftime Sunday, then were outscored 28-22 in the second half.

Iron Mountain grad and freshman point guard Marcus Johnson and Dollar Bay grad and sophomore wing Jaden Janke led the Norse with 12 points each in reserve roles.

“Our kids competed,” said Bay coach Matt Johnson, who previously coached 11 years at Hibbing (Minn.) Community College. “We just didn’t put the ball in the hole. We did a great job taking care of the ball.”

The Yellowjackets scored the first eight points of the second half, taking a 46-43 lead on a layup by Devyn Frye.

Bay shaved its deficit to 46-45 on a layup by Marinette, Wis., grad and sophomore wing Matt Wagner at 14:48.

Rochester then extended its cushion to 52-45 on a layup by the tourney’s Most Valuable Player Jerome Cunningham.

Bay regained the lead at 55-54 on a six-foot running jumper and free throw by Rapid River graduate and freshman point guard Tyler Sundling at 9:30.

The lead then changed hands four times during the remainder of the contest with the Norse going ahead for the last time on a putback by Janke with 4:45 remaining.

Bay finished 24-of-61 from the floor.

The Norse had just four miscues in Saturday’s victory. Wagner led the way with 30 points.

Rochester 38 28 — 66

Bay College 43 22 — 65

Rochester Community & Technical College — Watts 13, Frye 6, Flenorl 7, Williams 2, Cunningham 19, Olander 5, Burland 10, McCrimon 4. FT: 7-10; F: 18; Fouled out: Williams; 3-point field goals: Flenorl, Olander, Burland.

Bay College — Gibbs 10, Dobessi 10, A. Janke 6, Wagner 7, Johnson 12, Sundling 3, J. Janke 12, Ngambo 2, Henderson 3. FT: 12-17; F: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: A, Janke 2, Johnson 2, Wagner.

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