Coming off of a Region 16 loss to nationally Top 10 ranked St. Louis on January 13th, the North Central Missouri College Lady Pirates clearly knew the importance of region test #2, a date with Penn Valley on Wednesday night at the Ketcham Community Center in Trenton. A loss would, despite an outstanding overall record, drop the Lady Pirates to 0-2 in region play, with both losses coming on their home floor.
With their focus up, the Lady Pirates dropped 98 points onto the scoreboard in a decisive rout of the Scouts, 98-69, improving the #13 ranked (NJCAA Division Two) squad from North Central to 16-4 on the season.
Penn Valley, a team known this season for strong offense, but also struggling to hold their opponents own offense down, gave up 27 points in the opening quarter, as North Central pulled away a bit from their fiercest rival to take a 27-20 lead after ten minutes. With defense intensity turning up noticeably in the second quarter, the Lady Pirates only gave up 11 points over that 10 minutes, taking a 46-31 lead to the locker room.
The Scouts full court pressure gave the Lady Pirates third quarter difficulty, as the visitors from Kansas City pulled the lead to as close as 10 points, but a swift knockout punch by NCMC, led by a trio of fourth-quarter three pointers by Samm Jett, and timely three balls by Hailey Burrows and Kendey Eaton, gave the hosts plenty of breathing room over the game’s final minutes.
Lady Pirate Head Coach Jenni Croy was pleased with her team’s scoring balance, with six North Central players in double figures, led by sophomore Sarah Lamp with 19 points. Croy noted how despite some struggles in the second half with the Scouts pressure, the ability of her team to get hot from the perimeter makes them one of the most dangerous teams in Region 16:
Jett, a sophomore transfer from John Wood Community College by way of Laddonia, Missouri (Community H.S.), had 15 points for the Lady Pirates, with Trenton native Whitley Richman adding 14, St. Joseph Lafayette product Maddie Book with 13, Eaton with 11, and Ashtin Williams, a freshman from Brookfield, with 10. The North Central women travel to Harrison, Arkansas on Saturday, playing the North Arkansas Pioneers at noon. The Lady Pirates are ranked #13 and the Lady Pioneers #12 coming into the late January showdown.
The Scouts of Penn Valley, with the loss, drop to 7-8 overall and 1-2 in Region 16 play. Kassidy Snowden led Penn Valley with 22 points, with Octavia Lowery adding 12 (7 points below her season scoring average of 18.9). The NCMC women will play the Scouts on the Penn Valley campus in Kansas City at 1 o’clock on Saturday, February 10th.