BY NIKKI SHERRILL
PHOTOS BY ALLYSON PELCHAT
VIDEO BY MASON LINDBLOOM
An exciting matchup for a spot in the quarterfinals between No. 7 College of the Ozarks and No. 3 Mayville State ended with the Bobcats of the Ozarks winning an overtime battle, 92-87. The crowd, who was charged by the Ozarks’ student section and energetic kids, helped keep the emotion of the game up for the Bobcats.
Mayville State was led by Marcisa McMillan who shot for 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, while Brandy Uchtman for Ozarks led all scorers with 25 points and eight rebounds. Both teams shot better in the second half as Ozarks went for 45 percent and Mayville State hit 42 percent of their shots. Neither team was exceptional from the charity stripe with Ozarks going 57 percent from the line and Mayville cashing in on 63 percent of theirs. In the end, Ozarks was able to draw energy from the crowd and come away with the victory.
“All we needed to do in overtime was just keep playing; keep playing Ozark basketball and we would be fine. In the end, it was good enough and we were able to get some huge plays offensively and defensively,” said Ozarks head coach Becky Vest.
The first half, neither team was able to get a large enough lead to feel comfortable, as there were numerous lead changes. Both teams shot almost equally with Ozarks shooting 39 percent and Mayville hitting for 37 percent. However, it was the three ball that moved the crowd and got the momentum going as Ozarks hit five long range shots towards the end of the half to motivate their abundant crowd.
“Our crowd was here yesterday at 8:30 for us and they were going nuts. They were behind us the whole way, especially today. They got the little kids involved and it pushed us,” said Ozark Sophomore Brandy Uchtman.
The first half was led by Marcisa McMillan for Mayville State with 15 points. Mayville State was able to get on the board by turning forced turnovers for points with 10. Also, they looked deep inside multiple times to get 20 points in the paint. Ozarks led the first half in rebounds as they crashed the boards 31 times to Mayville’s 23, helping Ozarks to carry a 39-37 lead into halftime.
“We knew we had to limit their open three’s and they are very good at driving so we had to contain them on that and try and get a hand in their shooter’s face if we wanted to get a good lead on them,” said Vest.
Ozarks’ took advantage in the early stages of the second half as they extended their lead by as much as seven in the first few minutes. Mayville State didn’t let up, though, as they hit from long range as well as looked inside for opportunities. However, halfway through the second, Ozarks started to find their game as they went up by 11 with just over 10 minutes left.
Soon, though, it was Mayville’s time to go on their run as they took their first lead of the half under four minutes at 72-70. With 18 seconds left, Ozarks’ was able to get an open three to tie the game up at 79. A last second attempt at a three was no good as the game would go into overtime.
In overtime, Ozarks would lead by as many as three, but Mayville did not go away. As Ozarks led by one, Mayville missed an open inside shot and quickly had to foul. Ozarks was clutch on the foul shots and turned around to rush back on defense and block a shot for Mayville. A missed desperation three by Mayville led to a foul against them, sending Ozarks to the line where they made both to increase the lead to 92-87. A final shot at three points was blocked to seal the win for the Ozarks.
“I’m incredibly proud of my players and the heart that they demonstrated, we just never gave up. It’s a testament to this team’s character,” said Vest.
College of the Ozarks earned their spot in the national quarterfinals and will take on the winner of No. 1 Northwestern and No. 5 Huntington on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Sioux City, Iowa at the Tyson Events Center. After the second round loss, Mayville State falls to 25-4 in their first appearance at the championship.
Catch up on Round 1 results:
Mayville State (N.D.) vs. Cornerstone (Mich.) – Comets Come Back to Defeat the Eagles
College of the Ozarks (Mo.) vs. Saint Xavier (Ill.) – Ozarks’ Sixth Man Helps Excel Bobcats