Feb. 25 Missouri State University-West Plains at West Plains, Missouri
The fifth-seeded State Fair Community College (SFCC) Roadrunners defeated the fourth-seeded Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzlies 88-85 on Tuesday, Feb. 25 in the Region 16 Tournament Quarterfinal round.
SFCC led the contest 41-36 at halftime. The game was tied at 85 with 49 seconds remaining. Sophomore guard Malcolm Townsel of Chicago, Illinois was fouled as he drove to the basket. He knocked down a pair of free throws to give his team a two-point advantage. SFCC made another free-throw with 1.4 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
"We had the lead for most of the game," said Roadrunners Basketball Head Coach Matt Brown. "It was a win or go home game, now we get the opportunity to play Mineral Area again on Friday, which I know our guys are looking forward to. We were able to make some open shots against West Plains. We got good effort from some guys off of the bench. Nate McClure (of Houston Texas) and Michael Wright of (Chicago, Illinois) made some three-point shots. Dimitri Georgiadis (of Richmond, Virginia) was able to finish around the basket. It was also important for us to hang in there and get a victory on the road."
Sophomore guard Kailleb Walton-Blanden of Rapid City, South Dakota led three Roadrunners in double figures with 26 points. Townsel added 23 points and a team-high five assists and three steals. Sophomore guard Damaria Franklin of Chicago, Illinois registered a double-double with 20 points and a team-high 13 rebounds.
February 28 Mineral Area College at Jason Gym in Jefferson City, Missouri
SFCC (16-14) saw its season come to an end in heartbreaking fashion losing a 90-83 game in overtime to the top-seeded and fifth-ranked Mineral Area College Cardinals on Friday, Feb. 28 in the Region 16 Tournament Semifinal Round at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.
Mineral Area jumped out to an early 9-2 advantage within the first three minutes. The Cardinals pushed the advantage to 29-16 in the first half. The 13 point advantage was the largest held by either team in the game.
SFCC refused to go quietly, trimming the deficit to six points at halftime. SFCC continued the comeback effort in the second half, cutting the deficit to two points at 72-70 with about four minutes remaining in the game. SFCC managed to tie the game at 79 with a pair of free throws from Walton-Blanden with 12 seconds remaining in regulation. SFCC got a defensive stop on the final possession to force overtime.
The Cardinals outscored SFCC 11-4 in the overtime to seal the victory. Even though the Roadrunners came up short, Coach Brown was very happy with the effort from his team.
"I think that was about as good as we could've played," said Brown. "Down the stretch we missed four shots in a row. When you play against a nationally ranked team, you have to finish those opportunities. I'm really proud of this team. We were so close. They hung together and the game could have gone either way."
Coach Brown was also very happy for his sophomore class.
"I'm going to help every one of those kids," said Brown. "They have given everything that you could've asked for, that's why this loss is so hard. We were in position to win the game. I enjoyed our team this year, they are a really good group who represented the school well. They are all doing well academically and will be good additions to any program."
Franklin led three Roadrunners in double figures with 21 points in his final game at SFCC. Townsel contributed 18 points in his final game at SFCC. Walton-Blanden added 15 points and a team-high four assists and six rebounds. McClure registered a team-high two steals in the game.