Ironhawks rally for division win over Hibbing
by Tom Coombe
The Vermilion Ironhawks picked up a badly-needed victory Wednesday night and stayed in the thick of the playoff chase.
But it sure wasn’t easy.
Trailing midway through the second half, Vermilion caught fire when it counted and rallied past visiting Hibbing 71-60 in Northern Division community college basketball action.
Sophomore Ronald Ducros snared a game-high 17 rebounds, while freshman guard Malik Eason came off the bench and led all scorers with 25 points.
Most came in the second half, when Vermilion found more success by taking the ball to the basket.
The Ironhawks made only three-of-20 three-point shots, and many clanked off the rim in the first half when the hosts fell behind 28-27.
Hibbing maintained that edge and opened up a six-point lead early in the second stanza, but Vermilion wore the visitors down.
The Ironhawks maintained a rebounding edge and regained the lead, and Jordan Samuelsson’s three-pointer, only the third long-range bomb made by the team and his only triple of the night, gave his team a 53-47 lead.
Eason followed with a three-point play the old-fashioned way and Vermilion was never threatened again.
C.J. Brown scored 15 points for Vermilion, and 6-7 T.J. Wright added nine points to go with six rebounds.
Ducros added seven points to go with his monster evening on the boards.
Ray Washington-Battle paced Hibbing, which is winless in division play, with 18 points.
Vermilion is now 2-3 in the division and is within a game of a top-four spot, which would be good for a regional playoff berth.
Today’s contest at Fond du Lac is also critical for the Ironhawks as they look to gain ground in the division.
• Vermilion fell 70-66 to Rainy River on Saturday.
The Ironhawks were unable to hold a four-point halftime lead as the Voyageurs rallied for the road victory.
Wright had 16 points and eight rebounds for Vermilion, while Brown and RaShawn Wilcox netted 15 points each and Eason finished with 13.
Ducros again reached double digits in rebounds with 11.
Rainy River prevailed despite going four-for-20 from beyond the three-point arc, as Tyrecke Francois poured in 22 points and Alexander Aguilar added 17.