Simply six days after the earlier matchup between the 2 applications, Columbia Faculty ladies’s basketball and Central Baptist met once more Friday on the Southwell Complicated.
The groups and venue had been the identical, however the stakes had modified. The 2 groups had been battling it out within the semifinal sport of the American Midwest Convention Event.
Because of a various offense and powerful performances from Allison Stiers, Geena Stephens and Mallory Shetley, Columbia defeated Central Baptist 77-60 to arrange an AMC remaining in opposition to Lyon Faculty on Monday.
“That was a big-time efficiency from our children,” Columbia coach Taylor Possail stated. “Central Baptist is an especially gifted staff that’s well-coached. We continued to make changes, they continued to rebound with the whole lot that they had.
“To win within the playoffs, your high three gamers — Allison, Mallory and Geena — have to be your greatest three gamers.”
Stiers, Stephens and Shetley put up 16, 16 and 11 factors, respectively, with 32 factors between them within the second half alone.
After being stifled within the paint by the Mustangs within the second quarter, Stephens spearheaded the second-half march by driving to the rim, drawing fouls and changing baskets with deadly accuracy.
With simply eight first-half factors within the paint throughout Columbia’s roster, Possail stated that Stephens attacking the rim allowed the remainder of her teammates to do the identical.
“For (Stephens) to actually choose up the slack once we wanted her to get to the rim and open these floodgates — and hastily, guess what? — right here comes Sophia (Popp) to the rim,” Possail stated. “Right here comes Allison to the rim. That’s a senior-inspired second for us.”
For Stephens, the cost got here from the teaching employees.
“My coaches actually simply jogged my memory that I can get to the rim,” Stephens stated. “An enormous a part of the sport is free throws, so simply to get to the road and it’ll all work out from there.”
Matching Stephens’ game-high and main Columbia for the third sport in a row, Stiers was at occasions unstoppable. She remained the one fixed in Columbia’s offense all through the sport, persistently posing an uncontainable risk to the Mustangs’ protection.
“(Stiers is) beginning to hit her stride now inside the move of our offensive ideas,” Possail stated. “She’s feeling actually good proper now.”
Although she fell 5 factors wanting her teammates’ game-high level complete, Shetley’s contribution was essential, because the freshman finally fell only one help and one rebound wanting a triple-double (11 factors, 9 rebounds, 9 assists).
“The primary half I didn’t get quite a lot of photographs up, so the second half my most important focus was to get to the boards and get my factors from there,” Shetley stated. “I received an offensive putback and simply labored off of that.”
Away from the dynamic trio, Columbia did what it has for a lot of its seven-game profitable streak. It stored its opponent guessing on offense by switching its route of assault from quarter to quarter, and put up an enormous factors complete from reserves.
The Cougars outscored the Mustangs 37-9 from the bench, together with three first-quarter 3s from Abby Backes.
Columbia’s efforts from the perimeter ended within the first half, nevertheless, because it turned to the paint to gather its factors — a change that Central Baptist couldn’t sustain with and finally gained Columbia the sport.
Its finals opponent is AMC high seed and 18th-ranked Lyon Faculty, however regardless of the powerful matchup — the Scots beat the Cougars 64-58 on Jan. 19 — the temper is excessive within the Columbia camp.
“It’s an enormous sport,” Stephens stated. “It’s at all times actually enjoyable to play a high staff in our convention and I do know our women are actually hyped to play them.”
Shetley shared Stephens’ enthusiasm.
“I don’t suppose we performed our greatest ball final sport in opposition to Lyon, and we’re taking part in actually good ball. You noticed that tonight,” Shetley stated. “I feel it’ll be a very totally different sport.”
Possail stated that reaching the ultimate met Columbia’s preseason ambitions.
“Lyon is a staff I’ve the utmost respect for. Coach Stewart-Lange does an unbelievable job,” Possail stated. “It represents a possibility for us to go to their place and compete for a championship.
“Each single yr, you ask to play in March. With our win tonight we get to play in March. My aim yearly is to take action, and we reached our aim once more for the fourth straight yr.”
The Cougars will compete for the championship in opposition to Lyon at 7 p.m. Monday in Batesville, Arkansas.