Mar 14 2007
The Seward County Community College womenís basketball team won the NJCAA D-I Region VI Tournament against Coffeyville Community College 68-65, in overtime on Wednesday night at Charles Koch Arena in Wichita. It was the most dramatic game of the season for the No. 1 seeded Lady Saints (33-1) as they defeated tournament No. 2 seed Coffeyville C.C. (30-4). The Seward County basketball program continues their dominating ways in the Region VI Tournament winning their fifth title in the last nine years. The Lady Saints were led by their three Region VI All-Tournament Team selections, Chontaye Walter, Taushelle Rushing and Most Valuable Player Tegan Cunningham. Seward County will advance to the NJCAA D-I National Tournament in Salina on Mar. 20-24, at the Bicentennial Center.
The Lady Saints and Coffeyville fought for 45 minutes on Tuesday night to determine who would be crowned Region VI champs. Seward County got off to a strong start defensively holding the Lady Red Ravens scoreless until the 13:27 mark in the first-half, posting an early 6-0 lead.
Later in the first-half, Walter connected on two free throws and Jennifer Noel banked in a lay-up to give the Lady Saints a 19-11 lead, their largest lead of the game, with 5:59 left to play before halftime. Coffeyville then went on a 16-5 run to take their first lead of the game and to close the first-half with a 27-24 lead over SCCC.
Seward County was able to apply defensive pressure the entire first-half causing 14 turnovers and outscoring Coffeyville 13-8 on points off turnovers. Despite shooting just 28 percent from the field, Seward County led during the opening 18 minutes of the first-half. Cunningham led all players, scoring 10 points and Walter tallied nine points in the opening frame.
Coffeyville posted their largest lead (five points) on three different occasions to start the second-half, and led 33-28 with 16:13 remaining to play in the game. That is when the SCCC defense and sophomore guard Chelsea Blackshear helped the Lady Saints get back the lead.
Blackshear knocked down a jump shot and on the other side of the floor blocked a three-point attempt by Syeeda Echols. The next Coffeyville possession, Blackshear again blocked a shot attempt by Brittany Rochelle and then hit a three-point bucket to tie the score 33-33, with 14:29 remaining in the game.
Seward County took the lead back when Blackshear made a lay-up on an assist from Rushing to give SCCC a two point lead with 13:30 left to play. Seward County never trailed again but Coffeyville was able to bring the score to a tie twice before the game went into overtime.
In overtime, Seward County scored first on a Cunningham lay-up with the assist coming from Blackshear. Coffeyville evened the score when Echols made a lay up with 2:10 left in the extra period.
With two minutes remaining, Seward County received scoring from Noel, Rushing, Cunningham and Walter. After Cunningham gave Seward County a four point cushion (66-62) with 18 seconds left to play, Coffeyville answered back with a three-point bucket from Echols to bring the Lady Ravens back within a point (66-65) with six seconds remaining on the clock. Walter received the in-bounds pass and put the game away hitting two free throws to give the Lady Saints their first NJCAA Region VI Tournament championship under second year head coach Toby Wynn and second year assistant coach Kim Ortega-Davis.
Cunningham led all players with 26 points and recorded eight rebounds while Walter added 18 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Rushing neared a rare triple-double by scoring nine points with nine rebounds and nine steals. Blackshear gave the Lady Saints a spark with nine points, four assists and three blocks. Coffeyville was led by Shyvon Spears (14 points, 14 rebounds) and Syeeda Echols (12 points). Coffeyville out-rebounded Seward County 57-42, but was in danger all night committing 27 turnovers compared to Seward Countyís 16.
Wynn, who has a two-year head coaching record of 58-8, is among the top up-and-coming basketball coaches in the nation. His Xís and Oís knowledge isnít the only thing that has brought him and his program to the top of the NJCAA in only his second season. Wynnís positive and calm demeanor is what has been the staple of the Lady Saints program this season, after playing with only seven players on his roster for the last 14 games and with season ending injuries to two returning sophomores.
Wynn, Ortega-Davis and the Lady Saints celebrated on the floor of Koch Arena after their overtime championship victory, with each player holding seven fingers up signaling SEVEN, for the number of players they used to win the Region VI championship trophy.
It will be these two coaches and these seven players heading to Salina to try and continue their magical season in the NJCAA National Tournament.