Senior Night at the Missouri Western Field House was filled high with the emotions as both the women’s and men’s basketball teams honored their seniors. Savannah Lentz, Paige Phipps and Cera Ledbetter were honored at halftime.
Western (11-15) lost their last home game to Pittsburg State (21-5) Saturday afternoon by a score of 52-61. The Griffons trailed for most of the game until the third quarter. Savannah Lentz scored seven points in the third quarter to put them in the lead. However, the Gorillas outscored Western 18-11 in the fourth quarter.
“Going into the fourth quarter, that was the quarter we needed the most,” Ledbetter said. “We were just not tough on the rebounds and that’s what hurt us the most. We didn’t grind it out.” Ledbetter had 13 points.
Savannah Lentz was the leading scorer for Western with 15 points.
“Down the stretch, we just need to learn how to finish it,” Lentz said. “Our biggest problem is not grinding it out and not finishing the game. We have the right tools, we are just struggling with it.”
Missouri Western forced Pittsburg into 14 turnovers. In return, Pittsburg also turned up its defense and held the Griffons to nine-percent shooting from the three-point line.
Despite the loss, the Griffons still have a chance to make tournament play. Thanks to the win against Central Oklahoma back in the beginning of the season, they hold the tiebreaker for the last spot.
“We win one more game and we are in,” Edmisson said. They have to win both of their games to get it.”
Savannah Lentz is from Cresco, Iowa and transferred to Missouri Western from North Iowa Area Community College. She is NIACC’s all-time three-point leader with 171 made. As a Griffon, she is on MIAA Academic honor roll with the GPA of 3.0.
Head coach Rob Edmisson thinks very highly of all of his seniors.
“What a complimentary player that went from being a complementary player to full-time, 40-minutes a night kid,” said Edmisson said. “She sat there and was always a team player.”
Paige Phipps is from Omaha, Nebraska, a graduate of Millard West High School. Phipps joined the team in late January to help bolster the dwindling roster.
“What a giving person,” Edmisson said. “What a true Griffon.”
Ledbetter had initially sat down about a year and half of her career. There may be a possibility that she can return for another season.
“We going to try and get an appeal to get her another year back,” Edmisson said. “We may not get it, but for a one year kid, who has sat down for about a year and a half, she has come in and proven that she is one of the best back-to-back post players in our league.”
Missouri Western goes on their last road trip to Jefferson City, Missouri, to battle Lincoln (3-22). Then the Griffons will continue on to play Lindenwood (13-12) in St. Charles, Missouri.