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Wednesday May 22, 2024
Norse Showdown With DCTC Abruptly Postponed

ESCANABA---The most important basketball game of the season for the Bay College Norse and Dakota County (Minn.) Technical College Blue Knights was abruptly cancelled Monday night after a positive COVID test came to light within the Norse program.

That happened at 5:00, just two hours before the scheduled tip-off. And just like that, an NJCAA Region 13 seeding game was called off.

“COVID has reared its ugly head again and shut down what I think was going to be an entertaining, quality basketball game,” a dejected Bay College Coach/Athletic Director Matt Johnson said. “I feel bad for Peter (Olafeso) and his crew for making the trip from Minneapolis all the way to Escanaba, only to get shut down an hour-and-a-half before tipoff. It is what it is. There’s not much I can say.”

It was a disappointing, and costly, turn of events for DCTC. They made (and paid for) the six-hour bus trip from Minneapolis on Sunday, paid for hotel rooms and meals, had a shoot-around Monday morning, and were in the locker room preparing for the game when the word came.

“The whole situation messed up our mood,” DCTC Coach Peter Olafeso said. “The one game out of the year that we consider a rivalry did not happen. It’s the times we are in. Can’t control COVID.”

Both teams felt they had momentum entering the game.

Bay was coming off a tight loss to the top-ranked team in the country, South Suburban Chicago, and had a few players returning to the line-up. DCTC was coming off an impressive win over No. 14 Iowa Lakes, and the Blue Knights entered the NJCAA National Poll at No. 19 earlier on Monday.

DCTC had dominated Bay in the Twin Cities, 106-74, in the first seeding game nearly three weeks ago. But Johnson felt his team was in a better spot this time.

“I feel a little bit defeated right now,” Johnson said. “Devastated for our guys, Devastated for them. It’s just an unfortunate circumstance. We’ll move on and we’ll get back at ‘er in five or ten days, and give ‘er hell for the rest of February.”

It’s unclear when, or if, this game will be rescheduled. It is one of eight games that must be played for NJCAA Region 13 seeding. DCTC still has two games to play against Gogebic Community College, and the Norse face GCC once.

It's the second time the Bay men have had a game cancelled at the last minute. The Norse had their game against Joliet Community College called off because of a positive case in Joliet's program. That happened while the Norse were playing against another Illinois team, so they at least got one game out of their trip. DCTC made this trip for, as it turned out, nothing.

As of now, the Norse are scheduled to play at Finlandia University on Saturday.

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