Cougars Capture Crown by Upending #1 Kirkwood
Less than 24 hours after “the comeback,” the #10 ICC women’s basketball team knocked off #1 and previously unbeaten Kirkwood to win the 39th annual Cougar Holiday Tournament on Monday evening in Ramsey Gym. The Cougars played solid team defense and controlled the boards in the see-saw affair, but the loudest cheers came when Josi Becker hit a game-tying three-pointer with :11 seconds from the right baseline that forced the extra session. The two programs, who have a combined 13 NJCAA Division II national championships, have battled fiercely since the early ’90’s, and this game lived up to the billing as the Cougars won the tourney title for the second consecutive year.
End of 1st quarter: ICC 16, Kirkwood 14
This was a barn-burner from the get-go as there were seven lead changes and one tie in the opening quarter as both teams tried to establish their identities. ICC took an early 12-6 lead on baskets by Camryn Stafford, Moriah Ward, Sh’coria Metts, and two Becker scores, but Kirkwood nailed two three-pointers to get even. Summer Stoewer hit two jumpers to give ICC the slim advantage.
Halftime: ICC up 33-29
Stafford connected on an old-fashioned three-point play on a nice post feed from Stoewer, and Ayanna Gibbs took a charge to keep the Kirkwood offense in check. Stoewer nailed a three-pointer (assist Courtney Heffren) and Ward added a score (assist Becker), but KCC stayed close, trailing only 26-25 midway through the quarter. Jordyn Hare provided a spark with four points on an offensive putback and then a layup (assist Maia Marshall) to keep the Cougars up at the half.
End of 3rd quarter: ICC up 49-42
ICC started the half slowly with two turnovers and the Eagles quickly capitalized, going on an 8-0 run to grab the lead at 37-33 at the 8:00 mark. Becker and Stoewer sprang for baskets to tie things up, and the teams exchanged scores with ICC taking a narrow 43-42 lead on a Gibbs hoop (assist Hare). The Cougars went on a 6-2 run to close the quarter on baskets by Hare, Heffren, and Stoewer to head into the fourth with the lead.
Fourth quarter: 64-all
A Marshall free throw and Stoewer trey (assist Becker) gave ICC their largest lead at 53-45 with 8:37 left, but Kirkwood stormed back with a 10-2 run to grab the lead at 55-53 and held it at 62-61 with :48 seconds remaining. The Cougars had a chance to take the lead but missed the layup and fouled on the rebound, and Kirkwood converted both freebies making it 64-61 with :18 seconds. ICC inbounded the ball at half court and Stoewer drove to the hoop and dished to Becker on the baseline who swished the tying trey. Kirkwood called timeout and got a great look inside but missed the shot, sending things to overtime.
The Cougars scored the first four points on a Gibbs free throw and Stoewer three-pointer and never looked back as the defense dug in. Becker, Stoewer, and Heffren closed out the frame with free throws as the Cougars earned the win. This win was also a special milestone for Coach Redeker as she recorded her 500th career win!!
Becker (18 pts, 7 reb, 4 asts, 3 stls) Hare (6 pts, 6 reb) Ward (7 reb, 6 pts) Stoewer (23 pts, 5 reb, 3 asts, 2 stls) Stafford (9 pts) Marshall (4 pts) Metts (2 pts, 2 reb) Heffren (6 pts, 2 asts) Gibbs (6 pts, 4 reb)
Next up: Saturday, January 4 vs. Moberly Area at 2pm at Ramsey Gym. Livestream available at icc.edu/athletics
#13 Bryant & Stratton 77, #19 McHenry 60 (3rd place)
#2 NIACC 89, Sinclair 66 (5th place)
Carl Sandburg 69, Sauk Valley 62, 3 OT (7th place)
Summer Stoewer, Josi Becker, Ayanna Gibbs—ICC
Paige Bradford, Tatiana Hodges-Jackson—Kirkwood
La’Janique Perry-Ellis, Marleah Drake—Bryant & Stratton
Special thank you’s go out to:
- Coaching staff members (Greg Martin, Dennie Hieronymus, Stan Prosser, Jayson Alexander, Destiny Ramsey, & Brooklyn Eberle) for helping the tourney run smoothly
- Ben Diggle & Alex Staab (public announcers), Dave Mateer/Mindy Stille/Casey Danley (scoring), Donna Thomas/Margaret Kizer (stats), Mike Mercer (referees), Rhonda Elmore/Heather Doty (supervision), Mike Gerhinger (athletic trainer), Mindy Stille/Barb Martin/Stan Prosser (hospitality room)
- ICC Baseball Team & Melissa Diggle (concessions), Sydney Jensen (admission gate), custodial staff (Archie, David, Jeff, Terry, & Sandy), and ICC public safety officers
- Family and friends (especially the men’s basketball team) who cheered loudly.
- See you in 2020!