Lady Bears’ season ends at NJCAA national tournament

Published 10:30 am Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Southwest Lady Bears’ first-ever trip to the NJCAA national basketball tournament came to an unfortunate end Monday night as they were defeated by the Lady Grizzlies of Butler (KS), 69-31, at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, KS.

Despite the loss, the Lady Bears turned in the best season in recent Southwest basketball history as they finished with a 21-9 overall record. Their season included an 11-game winning streak and appearances in the MACJC and Region 23 championship games.

Butler quickly raced out to an early 14-6 lead with the Lady Bears getting three-pointers from April Levy and Madison Mault. Butler extended their lead up to 21 points, 28-7, with 5:35 left in the first half. Started by a Tee Myers free throw and ending with a Courtney Epting bucket, the Lady Bears outscored Bulter10-5 to close the half and make the score 33-17.

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The Lady Grizzlies opened the second half much like the first, scoring 14 of the first 17 points and extending their lead to 47-20 with 14:05 left in the game. Free throws from Raven Reyes and Katrina Littlepage and a Talisa Sherman three-pointer helped the Lady Bears pull back to within 49-26 with 7:40 left in the game, but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the way. Butler, now 33-2, went on to the easy win and advanced to the next round of the tournament to face Shelton State Community College.

Southwest head coach Brent Harris said after the game that “we ran into a very good team tonight.” Continuing, he said that despite the loss “we have a lot to be proud of-State runners up, Region runners up and 21-9 is really strong and we are still hungry for more next year.” He closed out by saying “thank you to all of our fans who followed us all year.”

Epting had seven points to lead Southwest. Littlepage followed with six points while Levy scored five and Meyers four. Mault and Sherman both had three points and Fredrikah Wilson had two. Reyes picked up one point. The Lady Bears hit nine of 19 free throws.

Te’era Williams had 19 points to lead Butler. The Lady Grizzlies hit 19 of 23 free throws.