STLCC head into Region XVI Tournament following 46 point victory in home finale
By: CHRISTIAN HARGAS
The STLCC Lady Archers defeated the Lady Dragons of Wentworth Military Academy, 91- 45, in the annual Cancer Awareness Game. The Lady Archers scored the first 11 points and led 30-6 after one quarter. It was nice to be able to just let the kids do what they were capable of doing, Head Coach Shelly Ethridge said.
“This kind of game, the way they performed tonight, as long as I do not get involved they are going to win the game,” Ethridge said. “I am really happy for our kids and what they have brought to our program.”
Freshman Forward/Center Alfreda Roberts scored four points, had 11 total rebounds and two steals in the game. Staying focused in a game like this was the most important part to continuing their momentum, Roberts said.
“We came in prepared,” Roberts said. “We knew we had to focus on this game in order to look forward to the next game. We had to bring our best here, in order to continue the momentum and be ready for the next game.”
The Lady Archers began the season losing eight of their first 10 games. They have won 13 of their last 18 contests, following their three point victory at MCC-Penn Valley. The continuity and momentum has come together at the right time, Ethridge said.
“We have certainly come together as a team and as a family,” Ethridge said. “We are starting to play well together. It is all about peaking at the right time and staying focused and I think our chances will be good in the Regions Tournament, as long as everybody does their job.”
Against Wentworth Military Academy, the Lady Archers had four players reach double-digits in points scored. Freshman Guard Shania Thornton led the team with 20 points and sophomore Guard Marcie Belcher had 19 points. Sophomore Guard Amanda Hughes scored 18 [leading the team with a three-point shooting percentage of 63] and sophomore Forward LaShonda Brewer scored 14.
It was an exciting day for the athletes, Roberts said.
“It felt pretty good,” Roberts said. “We still have to focus on what we need to do in order to get better. We have to continue to learn and play hard in order to become better over time.”
The annual STLCC Cancer Awareness day took place on Saturday, Feb. 13. Being a part of this event was very important to everyone involved, Ethridge said.
“This was a very meaningful game for them and our program, especially since this was the Cancer Awareness game,” Ethridge said. “Winning is always important, but the most important thing is that we are raising awareness about cancer.”
“It was really important for us to be a part of this event and win a game like this,” Roberts said.
The Lady Archers had a field goal percentage of 54, shot 40 percent from the three-point range and collected 44 total rebounds. They also forced 25 turnovers of Wentworth Military Academy. Their largest lead was 46 points and came with 7:58 left in the fourth quarter.
Despite the convincing win at home, they [Lady Archers] do not want to lose focus or intensity heading into the Region XVI Tournament, Ethridge said.
“You do not ever know if this game is going to be helpful to you or if it will hurt you,” Ethridge said. “Our most intense time comes during practice. We will have time, before we reach the Region Tournament, to get refocused and get the intensity and aggressiveness back.”
There were many different emotions and feelings before, during and after the game, Ethridge said.
“It means the world,” Ethridge said. “To see the crowd come out for this Cancer Awareness game and for our sophomores, it just shows you that people genuinely care. This program is starting to develop into something special and I am really excited for the future. It was just a wonderful day overall.”
The Lady Archer players wanted to make this day a very memorable one for their head coach, Roberts said.
“Being prepared for this game, knowing what this day meant, it was really all about making her [Ethridge] proud,” Roberts said. “We wanted to do what she asked us to do, which was to go out there and play together for each other and her. Making her proud really meant a lot to us as a team.”
With the win, the Lady Archers have a 14-12 record heading into the final week of the regular season.
They finish the regular season with two games on the road against Three Rivers Community College on Monday, Feb. 15 and MCC-Penn Valley on Saturday, Feb. 20. Wins boost confidence, but there is no time to take the pressure off heading into the Region XVI Tournament, Ethridge said.
“We still have two more games that we would like to win against Division I Three Rivers and another big region game against Penn Valley,” Ethridge said. “We would like to finish strong. We are taking it one game at a time and hopefully we can bring our best to the Region Tournament.”
The Lady Archers were defeated by Three Rivers Community College, 74-65, on Feb. 15. Brewer scored 24 points, 17 total rebounds and two blocks. They led 34-30 at halftime before being outscored 44-31 in the second half. They defeated MCC-Penn Valley, 67-64, on Feb. 20.
The Lady Archers finish the regular season with a 15-13 record. The Region XVI Tournament begins on Friday, Feb. 26 in Joplin, MO.
The players believe they can maintain their consistency and continue to build off of their momentum heading into the region tournament, Roberts said.
“I feel like we can do it,” Roberts said. “We play together and play strong the whole game. If we play up to our ability and potential, I feel like we can achieve our goal. We can win regions.”