After falling to eventual NJCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament champion RCTC by a score of 62-43 Friday evening, the Riverland Community College Blue Devils were looking to cap off a stellar season with a win in the third-place game versus No. 1 seed Owens Community College from Toledo, Ohio, and in their fourth game in four days, it was the Blue Devils earning a 69-65 win.
After trailing 19-14 at the end of one quarter, a layup from Riverland’s Cayli Miles with 6:04 left in the second quarter cut the Express’s lead to 23-21, and a 3-pointer from Savannah Longhoma with 4:15 left gave the Blue Devils their first lead since the start of game when Longhoma started the contest with a triple at 24-23. Two free throws from Miles with 2:19 left in the quarter, a layup from former Austin Packer Reana Schmitt and two free throws from Schmitt with :43 seconds left in the half tied the game at 30 at the halftime break.
Owens edged their way back in front 46-45 at the end of three quarters, and trailing 53-50 with 6:31 left in the final quarter, two free throws from Miles and a 3-pointer from Longhoma :27 seconds later put the Blue Devils in the lead at 55-53. After the Express worked their way back in front 58-55, a layup from Longhoma and a free throw from Schmitt with 3:47 left knotted the game at 58. After Schmitt blocked a layup from Owens’ Malorie Schroeder and Brooklyn Green missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing Express possession with 3:08 left, Schmitt pulled in the rebound and Riverland called a timeout with 2:53 left in regulation. Two fouls by the Express on the Blue Devils’ next possession put Schmitt at the free throw line with 2:38 to go, and Schmitt made them both to give Riverland a lead they would not relinquish at 60-58. Two more free throws from Schmitt with 1:48 left made the score 62-59, and after a jump shot from Owens’ Brooklyn Green cut the Riverland lead to 62-61, a huge 3-pointer from Longhoma on the next Blue Devil possession gave Riverland a 65-61 cushion with 1:23 left. The Express cut the lead to 65-63 with a hoop with 1:10 left, but a jumper from Schmitt with :46 seconds left gave Riverland a four-point lead again at 67-63. Owens would answer again with a hoop with :13 seconds left to make the score 67-65, and after a foul stopped the clock with :07 seconds left, Miles calmly sunk two free throws to ice the win for Riverland.
Longhoma led the Blue Devils in scoring Saturday with 22 points, plus she added three rebounds, one assist and two steals, Miles ended the game with 15 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals, Schmitt tallied 13 points and 10 rebounds for another tournament double-double, along with two assists and all three of the club’s blocked shots in the game, Nora Mecoleta and Macie Werdel both scored five points, Kenai Holien tallied four points, one rebound, three assists and three steals off the Blue Devil bench, Laura Granada chipped in three points and Camryn McQuery scored two points in the win.
The Blue Devils finish a fantastic season with a record of 24-6 with the win.