The North Central Missouri College Lady Pirates ended a seven year-drought of region championships on Tuesday night, defeating St. Louis Community College 77-64 in the NJCAA Division II Region 16 title game in Sedalia.
North Central fell behind early, trailing by as many as eight points early on, but the Lady Pirates battled back to tie the game at 29-29 at halftime. The two teams traded the lead back-and-forth briefly in the second half before the Lady Pirates went on a 17-0 run to completely take charge of the contest. North Central would have no trouble holding on to the lead, winning by 13 points to lay claim to the school’s first region championship since 2007.
“We got off to a slow start, but battled back to tie the game at halftime,” Lady Pirates’ Head Coach Jenni Croy said. “Our nerves got the best of us in the first half. At halftime I told the girls to take a deep breath, there was no reason to be nervous, we were the better team. We changed to a 2-3 zone defense to start the second half, which gave St. Louis trouble. They beat us on the boards in the first half, but we came out in the second half determined to win the battle on the boards.
“Everyone contributed in this game and our bench was key. I’m so proud of these girls – they are a special group.”
Leading the Lady Pirates in the win was Lexi Hope, who had 23 points, six rebounds and four assists. Sydney Rounkles added 12 points and eight rebounds and Nancy Berwanger finished with 10 points, two rebounds and two assists. The Lady Pirates also got 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists from Samone Redditt and eight points and seven rebounds from Kayla Oetterer. Jackie Graham had seven points and three rebounds, Megan O’Dell added five points and Brooke Parton finished with two points and three assists.
With the win, which was the ninth in a row for the Lady Pirates, NCMC improved to 16-12 on the season.
North Central will now return home to play host to Region 2 champion Mid-South Community College of West Memphis, AR on Saturday. The game will be for the NJCAA Division II District P championship. Action at the Ketcham Community Center tips off at 2 p.m.
Mercer Girls 62
Nodaway-Holt Girls 48
The Mercer Lady Cardinals are just one win away from going back to the Show-Me Showdown after scoring a 62-48 win over previously unbeaten Nodaway-Holt on Tuesday night at Civic Arena in St. Joseph.
The Grundy R-5 fifth and sixth grade basketball tournament began Monday night with two boys’ games and two girls’ games. In girls’ action, Laredo defeated Pleasant View 18-7 and Grundy R-5 topped Newtown-Harris 33-12. Boys action saw Laredo beat Pleasant View 16-14 and Grundy R-5 beat Newtown-Harris 16-6.
NJCAA Division II, Region 16 basketball action began over the weekend with both the men’s and women’s tournaments. The North Central women punched their ticket to the region title game with a 93-84 semifinal win over Wentworth Military Academy on Saturday at State Fair Community College in Sedalia. The NCMC men, however, saw their season come to a close with a 65-61 loss to St. Louis Community College in Lexington on Friday.
The North Central women placed themselves in the region championship game with a hard-fought win over a determined Wentworth team. Wentworth was able to find success offensively, but couldn’t match the Lady Pirates, who scored a near season-high 93 points.
Kayla Oetterer was a big part of the big offensive output for the Lady Pirates, scoring 21 points to go with 12 rebounds for a double-double. Sydnee Rounkles added 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and Lexi Hope finished with 16 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Samone Redditt also had 16 points and five rebounds. Brooke Parton gave the Lady Pirates 14 points, six rebounds and three assists.
“I’m so proud of these girls and their determination to reach their goal of a region title,” Lady Pirates’ Head Coach Jenni Croy said. “They’ve really come together in the most important part of the season.”
The Lady Pirates’ win was their eighth in a row, a streak dating back to January. The NCMC women are now 15-12 overall.
The Lady Pirates will look to capture the Region 16 championship on Tuesday, traveling back to State Fair Community College in Sedalia to take on second-seeded St. Louis Community College. The two schools split their regular season match-ups with the Lady Archers winning 79-59 in their first game and the Lady Pirates taking the second, 68-63. The region championship tips off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in Sedalia.
The NCMC men rode a roller coaster in their first-round region game. NCMC fell behind by as many as 15 points at one point, but battled back and led by four later on. From that point the game went back-and-forth before St. Louis surged ahead at the end for a four-point win.
“I thought this game was completely indictive of our season as a whole,” Pirates’ Head Coach Steve Richman said. “We played well in stretches and we played poor in stretches. We were all over the place. Part of that inconsistency is just being a young team and part of it is playing against strong competition.
“It’s tough to see the season end, but we have 11 freshmen coming back next year. That’s pretty exciting.”
NCMC was paced by Andrew Berry, who had a monster performance with 16 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Pirates. Tyrell Thirkield scored 16 points as well and had four assists. Jory Woodson reached double-digits as well with 12 points.
Woodson and Thirkield were both named to the All-Region 16 first team along with Xavier Newson. Berry and Tyler Peterson earned honorable mention recognition on the all-region team.
With the loss, NCMC finished the season with a 16-13 record. St. Louis went on to win the region championship on Saturday, defeating Penn Valley 76-74.
Mercer Girls 47
The Missouri Basketball Coaches Association released their all-district basketball teams this morning and four Trenton players found themselves honored as selections. On the boys team, Chase Tolson and Chris Flowers were named and on the girls team, Makaila Capeder and McKinley Hurley were honored.
Michaelis Helping Tigers As A Starter Now
By Seth Herrold
R-T Sports Editor
On the surface, one would think the Cainsville High School girls’ and University of Florida women’s basketball teams have nothing in common at all. That’s not entirely true, however. In a calendar year, both have been at the mercy of Sierra Michaelis.
On Feb. 20, 2013, Michaelis helped the Mercer Lady Cardinals to a 90-26 thrashing of Cainsville in a district semifinal game.
Now, fast forward a year. On Feb. 20, 2014 Michaelis, now with the University of Missouri women’s basketball team, recorded her first collegiate double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds in an 81-76 win over Florida in Gainesville, FL.
That’s Gainesville, not Cainsville.
Michaelis has started the last four games now for Missouri as the freshman continues her trek, making the monumental leap from playing in the HDC to playing in the SEC.
“Basketball at the collegiate level is much faster than the high school level,” Michaelis said. “Everyone in college is just as good, if not better, so the competition is also at a higher level.”
Another huge difference between playing in the HDC and SEC are the road trips. For Michaelis, a long road trip during high school was a one-hour or better bus ride from Mercer to Winston. That trip seems pretty short compared to the long flight to Gainesville for an SEC game. For Michaelis, traveling the country is both a positive and a negative of life in college basketball.
“My favorite part (of college basketball) would be getting to play with my teammates and coaches and getting to experience everything,” Michaelis said. “Or, traveling across the country. My least favorite part (of college basketball) is probably traveling across the country. It’s neat seeing new places, but constantly traveling is exhausting. But my coaches do a really good job making sure we get enough rest and things we need.”
Michaelis had about as good a high school career as one could hope for with Mercer. She was a multiple all-state selection, was named Miss Show-Me Basketball her senior year for being the top Class 1 girls basketball player in the state and led Mercer to a third-place finish in the state tournament that same year. Things came easy for Michaelis at the high school level.
When she arrived at Mizzou, however, she was no longer the big fish in a small pond. That didn’t stop Michaelis, though. She kept working with a tremendous work ethic that Mercer High School Head Coach Dan Owens had seen for years. Eventually, the hard work paid off and she was moved into Mizzou’s starting lineup.
Since becoming a starter, Michaelis’ impact has been solid. She is averaging nearly 10 points per game in the four-game stretch and 7.5 rebounds in the same span. And the Lady Tigers? They are 3-1 in those four games, all SEC games, after going 3-8 in SEC play prior to Michaelis starting.
“Sierra is the type of player that makes any team better,” Owens said. “Prior to her being in the starting line-up, I am sure she was practicing at a level that was making each teammate better. It is great to see her crack the starting lineup in the past couple of weeks and her level of play has been an asset since that time. I think they are 3-1 in a tough league since she has been a starter and I don’t think there are a whole lot of people in our area that are surprised with that because she has been a winner throughout her whole career.”
Michaelis and the Lady Tigers will wrap up the regular season with a trip to Arkansas on Sunday. Missouri travels to Duluth, GA for the SEC Tournament next week.
“I personally am very proud of (Sierra’s) accomplishments both on and off the court,” Owens said. “Even with her continued success, she still remembers and appreciates the people of Mercer and north Missouri as well as all of those who have been supportive of her for many years. I truly believe great things are on the horizon for Sierra, and the MU women’s basketball program if they continue to recruit winners like Sierra.”
The Trenton Bulldogs snapped a long losing streak in districts, but couldn’t reach their first district title game since 2001, falling 62-43 to the LeBlond Golden Eagles in the semifinals of the Class 3, District 16 Basketball Tournament on Thursday night in Lathrop.
The Gilman City girls’ bid for a district championship came up just short on Thursday night. The Lady Hawks fell 46-39 to Linn County in the finals of the Class 1, District 11 Tournament in Galt.
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