Central, S.C.—Four players scored in double figures as the North Greenville women’s basketball team defeated Emmanuel College 64-58 and winning the NCCAA South Regional Championship.
Central, South Carolina is located in an area of the state that is generally considered “Tiger country” but on this Wednesday night, the Lions and Crusaders were the two teams playing for keeps with a trip to the NCCAA national tournament on the line. The last time North Greenville met in a regional final was two years ago. The Lady Crusaders lost that matchup by ten. But on this Wednesday night, the Crusaders would exact some revenge on Emmanuel College.
Offensively the Crusaders were led by Karly Stache who scored 17 points to lead the team. Other players in double figures were Nikki Wood who scored 14, Christina Carlis who scored 11, and Whitney Smith who scored 10. Carlis also led the team with 8 rebounds.
North Greenville never trailed in the first half as taking the opening tip down for a layup to open the scoring. The Lady Crusaders opened the game with a 115-5 run in the first 8 minutes of play. The Crusaders led by as many as 12 in the first half at 22-10 with 9:12 left in the period. The offensive leader for North Greenville in the first half was Nikki Wood who scored 12 points. Leading rebounder for NGU was Christina Carlis who collected 6. At the half, the Crusader led by seven at the half 34-27.
NGU did not ease the pressure in second half. The Crusaders went up by 10 just 2 minutes into the second half. The Lions responded quickly going on a 7-0 run and cutting the North Greenville lead to 3 with 13:53 left in the game. The game would be closely contested the rest of the way as the Crusaders clung to a small lead. Emmanuel grabbed its first and only lead of the game with 7:22 with a three pointer. The Lions lead would not last long after Karly Stache drained her third three pointer of the night to put the Lady Crusaders up by two.
The Crusaders once again clung to fluctuating lead. Emmanuel tied the game again at 58 with 3:09 left. The Crusaders answered the challenge quickly as Whitney Smith hit a three pointer to give NGU the lead again with 2:11. The Crusaders would not falter in the waning minutes of the game going on to win by 6.
“We are elated to clinch the region championship,” remarked head coach Jayne Arledge.” We have come a long way since the start of the season and I think we are playing our best basketball right now. The girls coach [Scott] Moore and I are so pumped to get to compete in nationals.” The regional win is Arledges third regional title and fifth trip to the national tournament.
The Crusaders will take three weeks off to practice before heading up to Indiana for the NCCAA National Tournament which takes place at Grace College in Winona Lake. The dates for the tournament are March 11-13. Tournament seeds will be given out at the completion of the regional tournaments.