VCC outscored in DQ Classic
Ironhawks fall in high-scoring affairs with Riverland, Rainy River
by Tom Coombe
In a span of 24 hours, the Vermilion Ironhawks came up on the short of end of two nearly identical games.
Both contests in the annual DQ Grill and Chill Classic had very similar scores -as the college men’s basketball team fell to Southern Division power Riverland 93-83 in the opening round and 92-83 to Northern Division rival Rainy River in Saturday’s finale.
Vermilion’s first two home games of the 2023-24 campaign also followed similar patterns, with the Ironhawks playing catch-up in the second half but never able to completely close the gap.
The Ironhawks pulled to within two points of Riverland late in the Nov. 17 matchup and actually led Rainy River briefly in the second half on Saturday, only to fall back behind by double digits.
In both, Vermilion mounted late rallies, only to come up short and watch as its foes iced each contest at the free throw line.
Vermilion fell to 1-4 for the young season under first-year head coach Dawson Dickson.
The Ironhawks were buoyed by the return of 6-9 Jeremy Leonard, who stepped into the lineup and gave them more of a presence inside.
Leonard blocked four shots against Riverland and snared 11 rebounds against Rainy River and helped the Ironhawks close a rebounding gap that dogged them in two earlier defeats.
Guard Quyavant Douglas of Brooklyn Center had a huge weekend for the Ironhawks, pouring in 54 points for the weekend including 32, with 13 rebounds, against Riverland.
Freshman Rashad Jalloh came off the bench to score 20 points in the opening game while Elijah Gyalen added 10.
Riverland, which shot an impressive 53 percent from the floor, got 27 points from Savier McCall and 20 from DeWayne Thompson.
The Ironhawks turned a 10-point halftime deficit into a five-point lead within the first eight minutes of the second half against Rainy River, but the visitors countered with a run of their own and opened up a double-digit lead.
Rainy River’s Malik Siggers, who was named the Paul Ivancich MVP Award winner, scored 31 points to lead all scorers, 24 of which coming in the pivotal second half.
Douglas had 22 points and nine rebounds and Tyson Rogers finished with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists for Vermilion.
Leonard had a 16-point, 11-rebound day to go with four blocks, while Jalloh added eight points and D’Andre White contributed seven.
Vermilion plays twice this weekend in northern Michigan, as part of Gogebic’s annual Lindquist Classic.
The Ironhawks take on Bay College at 3 p.m. Saturday and close out the tournament at 11 a.m. Sunday, against North Central (Mich).
They remain on the road the following weekend and won’t play at home again until Dec. 8.