Tritons lose to NIACC
MASON CITY — The second-ranked North Iowa Area women showcased their high-scoring offense during a 31-0 run here Saturday afternoon vs. Iowa Central.
Behind that spurt, the Trojans advanced to Sunday’s Region XI Tournament final with a 88-49 victory inside their home gym.
After the scoreboard hit 9-9 midway through the opening 10 minutes, it was all NIACC (26-5 overall) until the five-minute mark of the second when they scored 31 unanswered points. They led by 29 at halftime and continually stretched the lead over the second half.
Sophomore Brittany West, a two-year starter, scored a team-high 29 points with eight rebounds, including eight consecutive at one point. She had 14 in the third and 10 in the second quarter.
West scored 83 points over the final three games, going 31-for-63 from the field with 11 made 3-pointers. She scored over 20 points five times this year and finished her Iowa Central career with 813 points, 268 rebounds, 291 made field goals and 126 made 3-pointers.
“It hurts that it had to end the way it did but we can’t change what happened now,” West said. “We can only move on and get better to be a Triton again next year or prepare for whatever school we’re headed to next. I will really miss playing with my teammates I’ve been lucky enough to play with here but what I’ll miss the most is being under Coach (Kelly) Kruger. He had taught me a lot in the last two years that I won’t only use my next two years on the court, but all through life.
“Being a Triton these past two years has been nothing but good to me and I will definitely miss having it across my chest.”
Kira Ward had four points and five rebounds, with Avery Terwilliger adding four points, five boards and four assists for the Tritons, who had won their last six coming into the game.
Terwilliger, a former all-stater at Humboldt, scored 419 points with 200 rebounds and 124 assists in two seasons. Ward tallied 277 points and 236 rebounds in her career.
For the Trojans, Mandy Willems led four players in double figures with 31 points, including eight 3-pointers. As a team, NIACC was 21-for-54 from behind the arc and had 23 assists on 28 made field goals.
Willems is now just three made triples away from breaking the NJCAA single-season record. She has 168 on the year entering the regional final.
NIACC entered the contest averaging a nation-best 95.5 points per game, but in two regular season meetings with Iowa Central, the Trojans had failed to crack 80. They have posted over 80 in seven consecutive, including 131 vs. Ellsworth last month.
Hallie Reese, a freshman from North Union, scored three points for NIACC. Reese also had two rebounds and blocked a pair of shots.
The Trojans carry a 14-game win streak into the regional final, which they will host at 1 p.m. on Sunday against No. 4 Kirkwood, a winner over Des Moines Area in the second semifinal.
Iowa Central loses sophomores Ward, Shariah Smith, Terwilliger, West, Kryssie Okinaka, Jescenia Mosley and Tierra Itula.
NIACC 88, IOWA CENTRAL 49
Iowa Central — Justice Crooks 0-1 2-2 2, Kira Ward 2-4 0-0 4, Shariah Smith 1-5 0-0 2, Avery Terwilliger 2-5 0-0 4, Brittany West 10-20 7-8 29, Kryssie Okinaka 1-4 0-1 2, Ceairra Smith 1-3 0-2 2, Jessica Jackson 1-4 0-2 2, Jescenia Mosley 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 19-48 9-15 49.
NIACC — Mandy Willems 10-17 3-3 31, Kelcie Hale 5-11 0-0 13, Autam Mendez 3-8 5-6 14, Jada Buford 4-7 0-0 11, Tahya Campbell 0-3 0-0 0, Ty’neecia Longs 1-6 2-3 4, Miyah Walker 2-2 0-0 5, Alexa Loftus 1-7 1-2 4, Pasha Nyewe 0-0 0-0 0, Lexi Jones 1-9 0-0 3, Hallie Reese 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 28-72 11-14 88.
Quarter scores: NIACC led 27-9, 50-21, 73-41. Three-point goals: Iowa Central 2-9 (S. Smith 0-3, Terwilliger 0-2, West 2-4), NIACC 21-54 (Willems 8-14, Hale 3-7, Mendez 3-6, Buford 3-5, Campbell 0-3, Longs 0-2, Walker 1-1, Loftus 1-7, Jones 1-7, Reese 1-2). Rebounds: Iowa Central 38, NIACC 42. Assists: Iowa Central 12, NIACC 23. Blocked shots: NIACC 4. Steals: Iowa Central 6, NIACC 12. Turnovers: Iowa Central 26, NIACC 8. Fouls: Iowa Central 14, NIACC 17.