Webster sparks Co-Lin in tournament opener

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SALINA, Kan. – Franklin County product Paige Webster authored acareer game Tuesday night in the NJCAA National Women’s BasketballTournament. The 5-foot-10 forward poured in 25 points, sparkingCo-Lin’s Lady Wolves to a 78-68 upset of Central Arizona in theBicentennial Center.

Co-Lin (26-2) goes after bigger game Thursday night when the LadyWolves challenge top-ranked and No. 1 tournament seed PensacolaState College, Fla. at 6 p.m. in the quarterfinals. Pensacola(34-0) smashed Malcolm X (Ill.) 80-50 yesterday in another openinground game.

Other opening round action saw Trinity Valley, Texas trounce JohnA. Logan, Ill. 84-55, Grayson, Texas sack Casper, Wy. 65-41,Vincennes, Ind. whip Wallace-Hanceville, Ala. 91-66, and NortheastOklahoma upset Cloud County, Kan. 63-56

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The final two opening round games today send North Idaho againstGeorgia Perimeter at noon and State Fair, Mo., against Chattanooga,Tenn. at 2 p.m.

Co-Lin coach Gwyn Young said he was proud of his team’sperformance. “We played really hard on defense but we didn’t shootthe ball real well. Central Arizona has probably been out here moreand won more national championships than anyone out here. It wasgood for us to beat a team of that caliber.”

Young praised Webster. “Paige had a really good game. She drove itinside and scored or got fouled. A couple of times she outran themdown the court.”

Webster, one of Co-Lin’s top reserves, came off the bench to scoreher game-high total. She had 10 points at halftime. She alsograbbed 9 rebounds.

“We had some players step up and make some big plays when we neededthem,” said Young. “We were a little bit nervous. We weren’t usedto how rough it was.”

Sophomore guard Kiare Etienne joined Webster in double digits with24 points. She scored 16 first-half points, hitting 7 of 10 fieldgoal attempts, including 2 treys, as Co-Lin claimed a 37-28halftime lead over the Lady Vaqueras.

Sophomore forward Brandi Simmons, Co-Lin’s second leading scorer onthe season, was in early foul trouble. She was limited to just 1point and 7 rebounds before fouling out with 5:11 left to play andCo-Lin holding a 64-59 lead.

Webster and sophomore center Sedreka Plummer made key baskets downthe stretch to turn back Central Arizona (27-5). The Vaquerasalmost erased a 13-point, 62-49, deficit in the final 7 minutes ofthe game. They will play the Malcolm X Lady Hawks Thursday in theconsolation bracket.

The Vaqueras, winners of 5 national championships, the last in2009, got 14 points from point guard Ashley Mitchell, a 5-8sophomore from Compton, Calif. Sanchean White, a 6-foot sophomoreguard from Hammond, Ind., chipped in 12 points.

The physical, hard-fought contest featured a total of 50 turnovers:26 by the Vaqueras and 24 by the Wolves. Co-Lin shot 40 percentfrom the field and made 30 of 42 free throw attempts.