The North Central Missouri College Lady Pirates are finished with the 2013-2014 season, after losses on back-to-back days this week at the NJCAA Division Two national tournament in Overland Park, Kansas.
On Tuesday morning, the 14th seeded Lady Pirates opened the tournament with a battle against St. Clair County Community College of Port Huron, Michigan. North Central played one of its finest games of the season, leading the Skippers by two points at the half, but a mid-second half run by St. Clair proved to be too much for North Central to overcome, as the Lady Pirates fell by a final score of 80-74.
St. Clair County, 29-2 on the season, was led by Andranay Beverly with 25 points (19 in the second half), Rachel Kehoe with 16, Ta'Kira Height with 14, Lariah Stevens with 11, and Whitley Currie with 10 points. NCMC, in falling to 17-13 on the season, was paced by 16 points from Sydnee Rounkles, 13 from Nancy Berwanger, 12 points each from Lexi Hope and Kayla Oetterer, and 11 points from Samone Redditt.
The loss dropped the Lady Pirates into the consolation bracket, where NCMC fell short in a battle with the Louisburg (NC) College Hurricanes on Wednesday afternoon, by a score of 84-65. The Lady Pirates got off to a strong start against Louisburg, but appeared to fatigue by the later stages of the first half. The Lady Pirates closed the lead to as close as 13 points in the second half, but never closer, ending the season at 17-14.
Louisburg, in improving to 24-6 on the season, had 21 points each from Kiara Rawls and Brehanna Daniels, 11 points from Courtney Railford, and 10 points from Zana Tatum. Rounkles led the Lady Pirates with 13 points, Oetterer had 12, and Lexi Hope 11. Hope and fellow sophomore Samone Redditt played their final games in Lady Pirate uniforms, with Redditt scoring nine points. North Central appears to be poised for another potential run at the national tournament in 2015, returning seven of nine players, with early indications of a strong recruiting class being put together by seventh-year head coach Jenni Croy and assistant Lesli Wyatt.
North Central is one of four teams from the original field of 16 to be eliminated with 0-2 records. The other schools to suffer the same fate were #16 seed Dakota-Bottineau, #13 seed Mercyhurst North East (PA), and #15 seed Essex County.
The consolation semifinals will be played Friday at Johnson County Community College, with Louisburg against Lake Michigan at 11 AM and Kankakee against Kishwaukee at 1 PM. The winners advance to the seventh place game Saturday at 12 noon.
The four losers from the national quarterfinals were dropped into a bracket to decide the fifth place team. Parkland College beat Monroe College on Thursday afternoon to move into the fifth place game (Saturday at 2:00 PM). Parkland's opponent will be either Cincinnati State or Chesapeake. Those two schools play at 3 PM on Friday.
The national semifinals will be played Friday night, with the brackets holding, and the top FOUR seeds remaining alive for a shot at a national title. In semifinal #1, St. Clair County (Michigan) will play Highland (Kansas) at 6 PM. The second semifinal matches up North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) against Mesa (AZ) Community College at 8 o'clock. The losers play for third place on Saturday at 5 PM, with the winners playing for the national title on Saturday night at 7:30.
Four NCMC Lady Pirates - Lexi Hope, Kayla Oetterer, Brooke Parton, and Samone Redditt - received NJCAA Womenâ€™s Division II All-Region 16 honors after their Region 16 Championship win on March 4th in Sedalia.
Kayla Oetterer (New Haven, Missouri) and Samone Redditt (Independence, Missouri) were named to the First Team. Oetterer averaged 15.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game and Redditt averaged 12.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.
Parton (Independence, Missouri) and Hope (Sedalia, Missouri) were named to the Second Team. Parton averaged 10.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game and Hope averaged 11.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.
Head Coach Lady Pirates Coach Jenni Croy received the NJCAA Region 16 Coach of the Year award.