It pays to play the best basketball at the end of the season.
That is what St. Louis Community College is doing now. The Lady Archers have won eight games in a row and are now headed to Pioneer Pavilion to play North Arkansas College in a winner take all basketball game.
The Plains District finals game will be in Pioneer Pavilion at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The winner of the contest gets a trip to the national basketball tournament.
It has been three years since St. Louis has been to the national tournament and two years since Northark has been in the national spotlight.
St. Louis came on strong as the season has come to a close and Metropolitan (Penn Valley) Community College is in the finals of the Region XVI tournament.
“That group of Missouri schools have beat up on each other all year long,” said Northark coach Bobby Howard. “They have seven players and are making a good run.”
The Lady Archers defeated Arkansas State University, Mid-South to start this eight game run. They then defeated Pean Valley before beating three junior varsity squads. In the Region XVI Tournament, the Lady Archers beat North Central Missouri and then Penn Valley again. Both contests were by 12-points.
That eight game winning streak brought the SLCC record to 14-13 on the season.
The team is 5-9 on the road and with the regional championship, they are 2-0 on neutral courts.
SLCC is averaging 64.4 points a contest. They are hitting 36.2 percent of their field goals and 30.0 percent of 3-pointers. The team also makes 67.5 percent of its free throw attempts.
Having played two teams from Region II, the Lady Archers have a 2-1 record against those schools with a split against Mid-South and a 10-point win over National Park College.
On defense, the Lady Archers will play a man-to-man defense. They will throw in some 1-3-1 zone.
“They use a motion offense that looks to penetrate and dish the basketball,” said Howard.
Leading the Lady Archers in scoring is sophomore Ronezja Elliott. She is hitting for 16.5 points a contest. Elliott is shooting the ball more that 18 times a contest. She is making 33.8 percent of her shots. She is making 21.4 percent of her 3-pointers.
“She is a 5-foot-5 point guard,” said Howard. “She is a penetrator.”
Kierra Winkeler is another starter for the Lady Archers that has the reputation of being a streaky player. She is hitting 38.9 percent of her shots and 24.5 percent from behind the arc. She is pulling down 9.5 rebounds a contest.
Janet Garrett hits the most 3-pointers for the Lady Archers.
She delivers three a contest. She is shooting 37.9 percent from behind the arc. She also pulls down 5.7 rebounds a game as well as 13.6 points a contest.
Kyla Richards is averaging 12.6 points a contest and has hit two 3-pointers a contest while hitting 34.8 percent of her long shots.
The inside player for SLCC is a 6-foot-0 girl that scores 5.0 points a contest. Ashalei Hughes is hitting 34.3 percent of her shots. She pulls down 5.8 rebounds a contest.