For the first time ever, the Dawson Community College Buccaneers in Glendive, Montana are headed to the national tournament. With a one point victory over Indian Hills Community College, the DCC men's basketball team made it to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.

We spoke with Athletic Director and men's basketball Coach Joe Peterson just before practice Monday morning from Kansas.

PETERSON: It's awesome that we get to represent the state of Montana on a national stage down here in Hutchinson, Kansas. So it's a pretty big deal. Pretty exciting. I think that I know that definitely the town of Glendale was excited and there's a lot of buzz around Dawson Community college, but I think the whole state of Montana I think can be proud of these young men and the work they've put in and being able to make it to the final 24 teams for the entire country.

Coach Peterson described the mood in Hutchinson, Kansas, and talked about some of the great players that will make their way on the court at the NCJAA tournament. One of the famous names many of you might remember is Spud Webb.

PETERSON: It's an incredible tournament, you really get just amazing athletes, very comparable to what you would see at the division one level- highlight dunks and just flying up and down the court- probably not as quite as tame maybe as like the NCAA Division One but athleticism wise highlights and so on. It's something special.

What helped the team get to this level this year? Coach Peterson says he has a great group of kids, but fundamentally they focused on the simple things- like being thankful for just getting to play the game.

PETERSON: We were really blessed this year, I think we've embraced the whole COVID challenges that have come from that, and we just haven't taken on the mentality that hey, any day that we get a chance to play basketball, we're going to enjoy it, we're going to have fun, and we're going to give our best effort and and try to get better every day. And we've done that throughout the Fall.

Coach Peterson also described the players on the team, from the Montana kids, to kids who came to Glendive from elsewhere across the country. He mentioned kids from Big Timber, Dodson, Browning, Huntley Project and all across Montana.

Full audio of our chat with Coach Peterson:

By the way, if you want to catch the game live, make sure you download the KXGN radio app out of Glendive, or check out their website for live coverage as well. Their game starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.


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