Milwaukee Tech, Morton survive as Region IV Division II District Champs

Images courtesy of Milwaukee Area Technical College Athletics and Morton College Athletics
Images courtesy of Milwaukee Area Technical College Athletics and Morton College Athletics

SUGAR GROVE, ILL. - A pair of fresh faces came out on top of the 2019 Region IV Division II Men's Basketball Tournaments as Milwaukee Area Technical College and Morton College claimed the District 3 and District 4 titles, respectively. On Saturday at Waubonsee Community College, the third-seeded Stormers, playing for the first time in Division II, defeated defending champoin and top-seeded South Suburban College 75-72, while top-seeded Morton College got over the hump for the first time in a decade with a 75-67 defeat of second-seeded Bryant & Stratton College. 

Milwaukee Area Technical College rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to take down the perennial power Bulldogs and earn their first Region IV title since 2011-12 when it claimed the Division III crown. Trailing 69-57 with less than eight minutes to play, the Stormers finished the game on an 18-3 run. MATC-Milwaukee, ranked #15 in the NJCAA Division II Poll, led the nearly the entire first half and took a 39-37 advantage into the break. The #5-ranked Bulldogs answered in the second with a 32-20 surge that build their largest lead.

Region IV Tournament MVP Shannon Sanford poured in 23 points, including a 12 for 12 effort at the free throw line, and added seven assists and six rebounds. Yuri Swinford registered a double-double of 14 points and ten rebounds, while D'Angelo Young-Pryor added ten points as both were named to the 2019 Region IV Division II District 3 All-Tournament Team. South Suburban College received 21 points from Rhyss Lewis, 20 points from Jason Towers, and 15 points from Malcolm Bell. The Bulldogs end the season with a 28-4 record.

Morton College buried 16 three-pointers, including three in a row to close out a back-and-forth contest that featured five ties and 11 lead changes. The Panthers stormed out to a 12-3 lead early and maintained a six-point advantage late in the half, however, the Bobcats used an 11-3 run to take a 32-30 lead at halftime. The second half saw Morton College outscore Bryant & Stratton College by a 45-35 differential to win its ninth straight game. After losing in two of the last three Region IV title games, the Panthers will make their fifth trip in program history to the national tournament. 

Morton College was led by Region IV Tournament MVP Tyrone Rhivers with 21 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. Shawn Marlow hit five 3's for his 15 points and was joined on the 2019 Region IV Division II District 4 All-Tournament Team by Dexter Reed. Bryant & Stratton College, ranked #17 in the nation, was paced by Justin Brookens with 26 points as the Bobcats finished the year with a 25-8 record.

Milwaukee Area Technical College (28-5) and Morton College (21-12) both qualified for the 2019 NJCAA Division II Men's Basketball National Championships in Danville, Illinois, from March 19-23. 

District 3 All-Tournament Team
Malcolm Bell - South Suburban College
Rhyss Lewis - South Suburban College
Jason Towers - South Suburban College
Yuri Swinford - Milwaukee Area Technical College
D'Angelo Young-Prior - Milwaukee Area Technical College

Region IV Tournament MVP
Shannon Sanford - Milwaukee Area Technical College

Coach of the Year
Randy Casey - Milwaukee Area Technical College

District 4 All-Tournament Team
Chris Thompson - Bryant & Stratton College
Manny Jingco - Bryant & Stratton College
Justin Brookens - Bryant & Stratton College
Dexter Reed - Morton College
Shawn Marlow - Morton College

Region IV Tournament MVP
Tyrone Rhivers - Morton College

Coach of the Year
Aaron Rolle - Morton College