Hastings College attempted to overthrow the No. 1 seed College of the Ozarks Friday at the Tyson Events Center but came up short, falling to the Lady Bobcats 64-52 ending their national title hopes.
“At halftime I just told them the needed to get their heads on their shoulders,” said George Wilson, College of the Ozarks head coach. “Basketball is a game of halves, first half was theirs [and the] second half was ours.”Hastings College did not waste any time putting the No. 1 seed College of the Ozarks against the ropes in the first half, going on a 12-2 run to begin the game. Neither team shot particularly well, both ending the half at 29 percent from the floor. However, Hastings maintained a 40 percent shooting average from behind the three point arc, completing five of them for 15 points.
College of the Ozarks turned over the ball a staggering 17 times throughout the first half, leading to six of the 27 points that Hastings took to the locker room with them. Ozarks trailed by ten at the half, 27-17.
The Broncos, much like in the first half, came out firing, going on an 8-2 run before Morgan Hickey for the Ozarks hit a high-percentage shot at the 17:30 mark. A timeout by Jeff Dittman, Bronco head coach, at 16:09 was needed to stop the scoring of the Bobcats as they pulled back within ten points.
Quick accurate shooting by the Bobcats brought them back from being down as many as ten to just four points at the 13:09 mark. Alicia Statler scored two points to give the Broncos a little breathing room, but was called for an over-the-back foul on the next Ozarks’ possession to make the score 37-33.
As the teams approached the ten-minute mark, the pressure turned up as Hastings College’s lead was cut down to only one point after maintaining the lead the entire game. The shots that closed in on the Broncos were made by Morgan Smith, , junior center for College of the Ozarks, who had 20 points at that point in the game.
Julie Posey scored the go-ahead shot for the Ozarks with ten minutes left in the game. Smith scored on a Hastings turnover giving Ozarks their biggest lead of the game at 43-40. Much of the trouble Hastings had came from their lack of accurate shots, dropping down to 28 percent from the field towards the end of the game. The Broncos also received no help from their bench, which could only account for two points.
A foul at the 18-minute mark gave Hastings the opportunity to tie the game, but Alicia Statler missed the crucial free throw and Ozarks took the rebound to the other end of the court. They then extended their lead by another point to be 46-43 with seven minutes to go.
A quick pass to the inside kept Hastings in the game as Alicia Statler scored to bring the Broncos within three points of the lead, only to foul on the next Ozarks’ possession. Hastings trailed 51-46 at that point and missed a one-and-one opportunity on the next trip down the court.
A stretch of fouling and missed shots for the Broncos gave the Lady Bobcats a pass to the quarterfinals of the NAIA tournament to take on Eastern Oregon Saturday at 3 p.m.
“We want to go out play hard and have fun tomorrow,” said Smith. “We do need a faster start though.”
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