BELLEVILLE — Just when the Kaskaskia College Blue Devils seemed down for the count, sophomore D'Marnier Cunningham came to the rescue Wednesday at Southwestern Illinois College.
Cunningham hit a 12-foot jumper from the lane with four seconds remaining to cap a late-game comeback as Kaskaskia stunned SWIC 67-65 in a Great Rivers Athletic Conference game.
The Blue Devils, who trailed 65-59 following a baseline jumper by Blue Storm freshman Falando Wilkinson with 2 minutes 34 seconds remaining, took advantage of three Blue Storm turnovers and a missed dunk by SWIC freshman Hunter Reine.
A conventional three-point play by former Cahokia standout Vincent Jackson followed by a 3-pointer from Cunningham then tied the game with 52 seconds remaining.
Blue Storm sophomore JaQuail Townser then missed a 16-foot jumper and Kaskaskia got the ball back with just over 30 seconds remaining.
Following a time-out, the Blue Devils got the ball to Cunningham, who calmly connected on a fade-away jumper for what turned out to be the game-winning play.
"Give Kaskaskia credit. They didn't quit and they made the big plays and shots down the stretch," Blue Storm assistant coach Steve Campo said. "We had a chance to put the game away and we didn't get the job done.
"This is really a tough one to lose. We had played well and beaten Kaskaskia the last couple of years. To lose twice to them by a combined five points this year is tough to handle.
Townser led SWIC with 22 points, while Cunningham paced the Blue Devils with 15 points.
SWIC falls to 9-6 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and 16-12 overall.
SWIC 78, Kaskaskia 68
LaTeesa Deloach scored 22 points in the final 30 minutes and two teammates also were in double figures as the Blue Storm outlasted the Blue Angels in a GRAC game.
Held scoreless in the opening 10 minutes, Deloach keyed a SWIC scoring run late in the first half to give her team the lead.
Kaskaskia, which got 23 points from Kierra Graves, led once in the second half, taking a one-point lead with 11 minutes remaining.
But SWIC (12-4, 17-5) went on a 9-0 run to put the game away.
Sophomore Mone'y Black scored off a no-look pass from Erika McCaster and McCaster, followed with a 3-pointer.
With Deloach scoring on back-to-back jumpers, SWIC led 61-53 with eight minutes left.
The Blue Storm was never threatened again.
"I thought we played well and I like where we are heading down the stretch," Blue Storm coach Mike Juenger said. "We missed 16 free throws tonight and if we do that in the tournament, that will be our downfall.
"Defensively we picked it up in the second half. (Kierra) Graves had 20 in the first half and three in the second. She's their leader. Stop her and you've got a good chance to beat them. We did that in the second half.
Mone'y Black added 15 points and McCaster chipped in with 12 for SWIC. Taylor Poindexter and Laura Litchfield scored nine apiece for the Blue Storm.
The Blue Storm, with Black scoring 13 points and Deloach and Poindexter adding nine each, led 42-36 at halftime.
Poindexter, a Freeburg graduate, hit two 3s to get SWIC off to a fast start. Black also was impressive, scoring on several short-range jumpers in the post.