COLUMBUS — The North Platte Community College women claimed the Division II Region IX championship Monday with a 68-60 win over Central Community College.
“I could not be more proud of this team,” North Platte Coach Jeff Thurman said. “We battled all night against a very good team. Our student-athletes showed a lot of heart tonight.”
The Knights came out with a purpose leading, 17-9 after 10 minutes, stretched the lead to 12 points near the end of the second quarter and led 33-23 at the half. The Raiders came out in the third period, and not only seized the lead but went on an 18-3 run to lead by 12 points.
“We could have folded in the third quarter being down 12 on the road,” Thurman said, “but this shows how much growth we’ve gone through in the last month or so.”
North Platte trailed 46-40 at the end of the third period but took the game back in the final 10 minutes enjoying a 28-14 fourth-quarter edge.
The Knights took advantage of opportunities at the line in the second half making 14 of 19 free-throw attempts (73.7 percent) while Central only made it to the free-throw line four times, making two free throws.
NPCC also took advantage of second-chance points 17-9 and enjoyed a 50-47 rebound edge for the game.
Sophomore Madisyn Francis (Houston, Texas) led all scorers with 21 points. Sophomore Nahatabaa Nacona (Chinle, Ariz.) scored 17 points and led the Knights with 11 rebounds. Freshman Emily Joseph (St. Petersburg, Fla.) scored 15 points, which included a three-for-seven showing at the 3-point line.
All three of Monday’s top scorers – Nacona, Francis and Joseph were named to the all-Region IX team. Coach Jeff Thurman was named Region IX Coach of the Year.
North Platte also got a double-digit night from freshman Katie Cox (New Port Richey, Fla.) who had 11 points and eight rebounds
For the game The Knights shot 31.8 percent from the field, made seven of 25 shots from beyond the 3-point line (28.0 percent) and made 19 of 26 free throws (73.1 percent)
Central shot 31.9 percent from the field, made seven of 28 shots from distance (25 percent) and nine of 12 free throws (75.0 percent.
The Raiders finish the season at 10-15.
“Winning the Region was our goal in August and we accomplished it by staying together and playing together,” said Thurman.
North Platte improves to 7-22 and will continues the post-season this weekend with a district playoff game — likely Saturday in North Platte. Official time, date and pairings will be announced.
Named to the Region IX team were:
Nahatabaa Nacona, North Platte CC
Madisyn Francis, North Platte CC
Emily Joseph, North Platte CC
Monica Brooks, Central CC
Day zchay Ion Gardner, Central CC
Emily Zvolanek, F, Southeast CC
Region IX Coach of The Year: Jeff Thurman, North Platte CC