The North Central Missouri College Lady Pirates, seeded #4 coming into Friday afternoon’s Region 16 semifinals in Joplin, had #1 seeded St. Louis Community College on the ropes, with a 28-15 third quarter surge turning a 39-30 halftime lead for the Archers, into a 58-54 lead for the Lady Pirates headed into the final quarter.
A series of bad breaks for North Central, including a controversial play underneath the NCMC basket within the final minute of play, were critical in the final quarter, as St. Louis survived a strong upset bid from the two-time Region 16 champions, winning 77-75 at the Ozark Christian College Multi-Purpose Building.
In her final game at North Central, sophomore Madison Winters was superb, going off for 26 points and 14 rebounds. Jami Nickerson had 13 points and Asia Young 10 for NCMC, with Maggie Graves contributing eight points and 12 rebounds, in the Chillicothe native’s final game with North Central. The Lady Pirates finish the season at 8-22.
St. Louis, in moving to 16-13 on the season, had 16 points from Shiana Carrington, 14 each from Shania Thornton and Marche Belcher, and 12 points from Shamara Glover. The Archers went on to win the Region 16 championship on Saturday night, 72-71 over Penn Valley, and will host a district championship game against either Mid-South or North Arkansas to earn a spot into the D-2 national tournament in mid-March at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. Penn Valley, in Friday’s other semifinal, took down Cottey College, 58-50.
The Division 1 women’s tournament was played in Joplin as well, with #2 seed State Fair knocking off Mineral Area, 88-86 on Saturday afternoon.