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Lady Archers win 2015-16 Region XVI Championship

Posted on 14 March 2016 by admin

Last second rebound clinches ‘third regional championship’ in five seasons

By: CHRISTIAN HARGAS
Sports Editor

 

The Lady Archers won their third Region XVI Championship in the last five years after defeating MCC-Penn Valley, 72-71, in the Region XVI Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 27 in Joplin, MO. The Lady Archers have come so far since their first semester struggles, Head Coach Shelly Ethridge said.

“We started the season with a record of 2-8,” Ethridge said. “It is a long season, six months of basketball. We battled through all of these different things throughout the season. In the end, it is the matter of who is playing the best basketball at the time.”

It was not a pretty win against the Scouts but a win nonetheless, Ethridge said.

“We won two games that were critical,” Ethridge said. “Otherwise, we would have been packing our bags. These girls deserve all of the accolades they are going to get.”

The Lady Archers led by four after the first quarter and seven at halftime. Sophomore Guard Shiana Carrington said her performance was a tale of two halves.

“I felt like I played a good first half, but felt like I did not show up for my team in the second half,” Carrington said. “I let the other team [MCC-Penn Valley] get in my head which motivated me. I knew my team was going to pick me up after that, so I had to step up in the fourth quarter.”

Trailing 71-69 with 20 seconds remaining, Carrington scored a two-point layup shot and was fouled.

With the game tied at 71, Carrington converted the foul shot to put the Lady Archers ahead by one. The defensive foul by Penn Valley changed the whole vibe of the game, Carrington said.

“I felt like that motivated us to get this win,” Carrington said. “Like I said, the other team got in our heads. They [Penn Valley] thought we were going home but we were not going to allow that. We were not going home, so we needed that extra boost of confidence.”

The Lady Archers led 54-46 after three quarters. Penn Valley took their first lead of the game in the fourth before pulling ahead by six, their largest lead of the night.

Momentum was changing rapidly and things needed to improve, Forward/Center LaShonda Brewer said.

“[At the time] my thoughts were like ‘man we just blew a big lead, they came back and now they have the momentum’,” Brewer said. “I knew I had to step up and do what I do in order to help my team pull out the win.”

Sophomore Guard Marche Belcher agreed.

“I think I came through when they needed me to,” Belcher said. “I have been battling some injuries, but I was not going to let that get in the way. I knew coach and my players needed me, so I needed to step up.”

Belcher suffered an injury in the first quarter after falling backward and hitting her head on the court floor. It was nerve wracking having to leave the game for a little while, Belcher said.

“It kind of freaked me out because I have never hit my head like that before,” Belcher said. “However, my ponytail kind of saved the impact so I could brace for it. I stayed in the game.”

Freshman Forward/Center Alfreda Robert chanted on the sidelines with her teammates as the game was in progress.

Using her hands and a chair, the team’s confidence was moving with the beat, Roberts said.

“It is good motivation because if there is no type of chant then they feel like they do not have the confidence,” Roberts said. “We wanted to make sure we were keeping them motivated, keeping their spirits up so they can feel the confidence and keep going.

Brewer agreed.

“My teammates are who keep me going,” Brewer said. “They make me feel good about my game. It just gives me a boost to keep elevating my game.”

With the Lady Archers ahead by one point, with 3.9 seconds left in the game, with Penn Valley controlling the possession of the ball, a missed shot and last second defensive rebound clinched the 72-71 victory and third Region XVI Championship in the last five seasons for STLCC.

This win was more than just a celebration for the players but a celebration of the head coach, Belcher said.

“It was important to me, but I think it was more important for us to win it for her [Ethridge],” Belcher said. “She wanted it really bad and that was the main reason why our team came out and showed up. She deserved it.”

The players were just as deserving, Ethridge said.

“Honestly, all I care about is the girls and them winning,” Ethridge said. “I would not be the coach of the year if I did not have the kids. Everything I get is because of them.”

 

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