On an emotional night, Griffon seniors won their final home game against Southwest Baptist 71-64.
“I’m glad our seniors could go out on a good note,” coach Rob Edmisson said. “Our kids played with a lot of intensity and every one of our seniors did something special tonight.”
Western had five seniors playing their last regular season game: KC Clouser, Alicia Bell, Heather Howard, Brittany Griswold and Kallie Schoonover. With the win, Western was able to finish the season 15-11 overall and 8-10 in MIAA play. Heather Howard got a double-double, she has 13 on the season.
Every time the Bearcats inched close in an overall tight game, the Griffons had an answer.
In the first half, the Griffons were trading baskets with the Bearcats until the 12:58 mark, when Western went on a 7-0 run after the game was tied 7-7. After that run, the closest the Bearcats got was two points, but the Griffons never lost the lead.
“Our kids showed some toughness and our speed led us to force turnovers,” Edmisson said.
Going into halftime, the Griffons forced the Bearcats to 13 turnovers and held a lead over the Bearcats 32-26.
After an Alicia Bell lay-up and a Sharniece Lewis 3-pointer, the Griffons jumped out to a double-digit lead over the Bearcats, 37-26.
Southwest Baptist took their first lead of the second half after a made 3-pointer, but the Griffons responded right back with their own 3 from Heather Howard, making the score 48-47 Griffons. The Griffons pulled away, going on a 7-0 run, making it 55-47.
The Griffons didn’t look back the rest of the game and outscored the Bearcats in the second half, 39-38. Western never let the Bearcats’ offense get comfortable, forcing 20 turnovers throughout the night.
Sharniece Lewis came off the bench and went 4-for-6 from the 3-point line, scoring 12 of Western’s 34 bench points. Heather Howard had 14 points and 13 rebounds. Alicia Bell added 8 points and five rebounds.
“I don’t know if it has sunk it yet and I love all these girls; this is my home. Having my whole family be able to be here, it feels really good,” Alicia Bell said. “We all knew we had to get this win when we are getting down to the nitty gritty.”
Missouri Western was able to convert on 22-30 from the free-throw line, which was more than double what the Bearcats made the entire night.
Brittany Griswold added six points and fellow senior KC Clouser was able to add three points and three rebounds.
Kallie Schoonover added six points and two rebounds.
“Tonight was pretty emotional and of all the gyms to choose from, I wouldn’t chosen anything else than Looney Arena,” Schoonover said. “Everyone came out and did their part and contributed.”