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Women's Basketball

Women's Basketball Team Place 7th in NJCAA Division III Tournament

A third straight appearance in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III national women’s basketball tournament for Northland Community and Technical College ended with a win Saturday afternoon when the Pioneers beat Nassau (N.Y.) Community College 71-64 in the seventh place game at the
Rochester Sports Center.

The seventh-seeded Pioneers lost to No. 2 seed Onondaga (N.Y.) in the Thursday quarterfinals 57-56 and fell to No. 6 seed Northampton (Pa.) Community College 58-51 in the Friday consolation semifinals before beating No. 8 seed Nassau. It was a 22-9 campaign for the Shannon Nelson-coached Pioneers.

“Our first game against Onondaga was really a heartbreaker,” said Nelson. “My players went into the tournament fully believing they could win that game, and it just came down to missed lay-ups and free throws at the end. Friday, we struggled again putting points on the board. With the exception of Jessica (Fontes) and Eiley (Berg), we struggled to connect from the field and the free throw line.”

Northland’s offense came alive Saturday. Berg led a balanced attack with 13 points, while Fontes, Tia Klein and Whitney Rogstad had 12 each. In addition, Beth Tvedt and Haylie Peterson were both just a point away from giving the Pioneers a half-dozen double figure scorers.

Sarah Seger and Stephanie Brock led Nassau with 19 and 17 points, respectively.

“I felt in the first two games we played excellent defense, holding both teams in the 50s,” explained Nelson. “But when you can’t put points on the board at the national tournament, it’s very difficult to win. We finally got our offense going against Nassau. We were able to get back to what we do best – running the floor and scoring in transition.”

Northland was 29-for-69 from the field in the win (42 percent). Nassau got off 81 shots, but hit only 24 of them (30 percent). The free throw line produced an 11-for-20 showing for Northland and a 12-for-16 figure for Nassau. The New Yorkers had slightly more rebounds (53-51) and turnovers (24-22) than the Pioneers.

Nelson said her team belonged to be in the field. “The overall talent in this tournament was very strong, and we
were able to be competitive no matter who we played,” she said. “Each game was close, and we had an opportunity to win. I am very proud of my players for bouncing back and continuing to play Northland basketball for all three games.”

The Pioneers were presented with the tournament’s sportsmanship award. “I think that speaks to the character of the young women on my team,” offered Nelson.

Scoring
1 2 T
Northland................................32 24 56
Onondaga...............................32 25 57
Northland - Eiley Berg 5, Jessica Fontes 5, Tia Klein 13, Eva Lampert 5, Ashley Lindgren 4, Asya Nelson 3, Hailey Peterson 9, Whitney Rogstad 4, Beth Tvedt 8.

Onondaga - Imani Brown 3, Carly Dicocco 2, Alyssa Gratien 17, Shalisia Jackson 16, Jenna Johnson 7, Nacirema Mann 12.

Scoring
1 2 T
Northampton...........................21 37 58
Northland................................19 32 51
Northampton - Tiara Aziz 17, Dee Brown 12, Halie Cintron 7, Shana Clark 3, Alyssa Gibson 13, Michelle Thomas 4, Kirsten Young 2.

Northland - Eiley Berg 8, Jessica Fontes 20, Tia Klein 6, Eva Lampert 4, Hailey Peterson 2, Whitney Rogstad 5, Beth Tvedt 6.

Scoring
1 2 T
Nassau ...................................33 31 64
Northland................................44 27 71
Nassau - Stephanie Brock 17, Nicole Brown 5, Brianna Cunningham 16, Hannalee Fordyce 3, Brianna Groover 2, Cynthia Montario 2, Sarah Seger 19.

Northland - Eiley Berg 13, Jesica Fontes 12, Tia Klein 12, Eva Lampert 2, Asya Nelson 2, Haylie Peterson 9, Whitney Rogstad 12, Beth Tvedt 9.

(Article Written by Mike Lundgren of the Thief River Falls Times)