North Platte – The North Platte Community College Lady Knights basketball team (16-12, 3-1 Region IX Division II) defeated the Central Community Lady Raiders (19-13, 2-2 Region IX Division II) Monday night at McDonald-Belton Gymnasium in the Region IX Division II Championship in overtime 90-86.
The Lady Knights struggled out of the gate to find any rhythm offensively and got down early. However, a 12-2 run would even the score up at 34 before the Lady Raiders would score four points to the Lady Knights two to take a 36-38 lead into the locker room.
The second half went much the same as the first half with the Lady Raiders playing well and taking a large lead at 55-72. The Lady Raiders would keep the Lady Knights at bay for the next several minutes and led by 15 points with five minutes to play.
The Lady Knights would then use their largest run of the evening at 18-1 to tie the game at 73 apiece. The Lady Raiders would score the next three points, but a free throw from April Stull and a lay-up from Aliyah Brown with eight seconds left tied the game. Central was unable to get off at the end of regulation and the game headed to overtime.
In overtime, the teams would exchange baskets as the lead went back and forth several times. Finally, with the game tied Stephanie Casteel was fouled and calmly sank both free .throws to give the Lady Knights a two point advantage. After a steal by the Lady Knights, Jordan Dickerson was fouled and calmly hit both free throws to give the Lady Knights the winning margin.
“The girls never gave up,” said head coach Richard Thurin. “Our press was very effective throughout the game and the 18-1 run to end the game was huge. All of our girls gave a great effort.”
DaVontaye Merritt once again the Lady Knights with a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds. April Stull also had a double-double as she finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Dickerson was second on the team in scoring with 18 points and Aliyah Brown finished with 17. Courtney Widick scored six points, but pulled down 10 rebounds for the Lady Knights.
Adrianna Beck led all scorers with 28 points while Paris Crenshaw scored 12 points and Alyssa Foltz scored 11. The Lady Knights out-rebounded the Lady Raiders 56-38.
The Lady Knights now advance to the District F Playoff in Bottineau, North Dakota on Sunday March 9 against the Dakota College at Bottineau Lady Jacks (13-17) to qualify for the Division II National Tournament. The Lady Jacks defeated Gogebic Community College (21-8) 86-75 in the opening round of the Region XIII Tournament and then defeated the host United Tribes Technical College (8-23) by a score of 77-71 to win the Region XIII Title.