DANVILLE, Ill. -- As the scoreless minutes mounted and the wayward shots missed the mark Sunday afternoon, John Wood Community College men's basketball coach Brad Hoyt held true to the belief his team would generate some offense.
It never happened.
Limited to 17 points in the second half on 27.3-percent shooting from the field, the top-seeded Trail Blazers saw their lead and their national tournament hopes evaporate in a 54-48 loss to second-seeded Danville Area Community College in the Region 24 championship at Mary Miller Gym.
"I couldn't solve it offensively for us," Hoyt said. "I told our guys that in the locker room afterward. That's on me. I wasn't able to find something that could keep us in rhythm on the offensive end.
"Credit to Danville. They did a really good defensively. I thought we guarded at a championship level, and they did as well. They made a few more shots and I couldn't solve how to get us back into an offensive rhythm. That's it."
That wasn't a problem in the first half.
John Wood (21-11) shot 55 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from 3-point range in a relatively efficient half. The Trail Blazers led 14-4 after hitting five consecutive field goals and making six of their first seven shots.
Danville used an 8-0 run to keep the game close and took advantage of a foul on the final possession of the half to make two free throws and pull within five.
"I thought we played well and found a good pace," Hoyt said. "We solved some things offensively and guarded hard. I really liked where we were at. We hadn't played great, but I thought we had put ourselves in a good spot."
The Jaguars opened the second half on a 6-0 run, taking a 32-31 lead on Jamil Wilson's runner. The Trail Blazers' Aziz Fadika scored on the ensuing possession, but the Jaguars' Tyler Toopes hit a 3-pointer for a 35-33 lead Danville never surrendered.
John Wood scored just four points over the first 13 minutes of the half, going 2 of 14 from the field.
Despite that, Hoyt never saw any frustration.
"We say it every timeout, 'We will solve this,'" Hoyt said. "So I think everyone thought we'd solve it as things went along. For the first time in a long time, we weren't able to."
Yet, the Trail Blazers were still in a position to tie late in the game.
Down four with two minutes to play, John Wood was called for a shot clock violation. The teams exchanged free throws over the next minute before Cory Miller, who led John Wood with 16 points, made a 3-pointer with 31.3 seconds left to trim the deficit to 51-48.
John Wood fouled Danville's Lavelle Smith with 24.8 seconds left, and he airballed the first free throw. His second attempt was good for a four-point advantage. The Trail Blazers missed a 3-pointer on the following possession and Danville finished off the victory with two more free throws.
The Jaguars, who shot just 37.2 percent from the field, were 12 of 16 from the free-throw line in the second half, while the Trail Blazers were 4 of 5.
"We guarded at a level that gave us every opportunity to figure it out," Hoyt said. "We just never did."
Region 24 championship
Danville 54, John Wood 48
Landon 1-2 4-4 6, Chilton 0-2 0-0 0, Gary 3-10 1-2 7, Lowden 3-7 0-0 6, Wilson 2-8 5-6 9, Divine 0-1 0-0 0, Toopes 4-7 3-4 14, Smith 3-6 5-8 12. Totals 16-43 18-24 54.
JOHN WOOD (21-11)
Schlotzhauer 0-3 0-0 0, Easter 2-5 0-0 4, Miller 4-10 6-8 16, Dahl 5-10 0-0 11, Fadika 4-8 0-0 8, Burrows 0-1 0-0 0, Cramsey 0-0 0-0 0, Whiteman 2-5 3-4 9, Oduocha 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-42 9-12 48.
Halftime score--JWCC 31, Danville 26. 3-point field goals--Danville 4-12 (Toopes 3-5, Smith 1-1, Chilton 0-2, Gary 0-2, Lowden 0-1, Divine 0-1), JWCC 5-16 (Miller 2-6, Whiteman 2-5, Dahl 1-3, Easter 0-1, Burrows 0-1). Rebounds--Danville 31 (Landon 11), JWCC 28 (Fadika 9). Assists--Danville 5 (Wilson 2), JWCC 7 (Easter 4). Steals--Danville 6 (Smith 3), JWCC 3 (Schlotzhauer 2). Blocked shots--Danville 2 (Landon, Gary), JWCC 5 (Fadika 5). Turnovers--Danville 9, JWCC 14. Fouls--Danville 13, JWCC 18. Fouled out--None.