The top-seeded Lady Roadrunners defeated the sixth-seeded Jefferson College Lady Vikings from Hillsboro March 1 by a score of 72-55 in the Region 16 tournament final in Park Hills. This is the fourth region championship for SFCC and the first since the 2010-2011 season.
SFCC (20-8) jumped out to a 20-9 advantage with eight minutes and 42 seconds remaining in the half and took a 34-22 lead into halftime.
“Our goal was to keep them from getting those three-point shots off against us,” said Lady Roadrunners head coach Kevin Bucher. “We thought the more up-tempo we made the game, the more opportunities we’d have. We got after it defensively and got a lot of steals and transition opportunities. In the second half our size and depth inside took over.”
Jefferson trimmed SFCC’s advantage to seven points with about seven minutes remaining, but the Lady Roadrunners made the plays down the stretch to secure the victory.
“The region championship is special for the young ladies who were playing,” said Bucher. “The sophomores have been a special group for me. I so wanted the opportunity for them to be region champions and have a shot at making it to nationals. They wanted it from the get-go, and now they are one game away from the chance to reach their dreams.”
Freshman center Alecia Cooley led the Lady Roadrunners with 21 points. Sophomore guard Adella Randle-EL contributed 14. Sophomore guard/forward Apiphany Woods and sophomore guard Mary Sims added eight points each.
The Lady Roadrunners defeated the fourth-seeded Mineral Area College Lady Cardinals 85-78 in the semifinal round Feb. 28.
The Lady Roadrunners took a 36-34 advantage into halftime after Mineral Area controlled most of the first half. SFCC got its offense going in the second half and took a 50-39 lead. The 11-point advantage was the largest lead held by either team in the contest.
“Our pressure defense and rebounding were big,” said Bucher. “Our players never gave up. It was a game with a lot of swings in momentum; Mineral would make a big run and we would answer with a big run of our own.”
The Lady Cardinals fought their way back into the contest. Both teams had opportunities to win in the waning seconds with neither being able to capitalize. The game was tied at 72 and went into overtime. SFCC outscored Mineral Area 13-6 in the extra period to secure the 85-78 victory.
Sophomore guard Antoinette Taylor led four Lady Roadrunners in double-figure scoring with 19 points and six rebounds. Randle-EL contributed 16 points, three steals and four rebounds. Woods added 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Cooley pitched in with a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds and registered four blocks.
Taylor, Woods and Randle-EL earned First-Team All-Region honors for the Lady Roadrunners. Cooley earned Second-Team honors. Coach Bucher was named Region Coach of the Year.
SFCC played the Region 11 champion Iowa Western Community College Reviers March 7 in the district final in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and won. Photos by Dan Hickman, Sedalia Weekly Observer.