Lady Tigers Make 3rd Straight Appearance in the NCCAA DII National Tournament
Champion's Lady Tigers stamped their ticket to secure their spot in the NCCAA DII National Tournament for the 3rd year in a row. This time around the Lady Tigers were seeded #1 and headed into the tournament with a 9 game winning streak: a 21-5 winning record overall and huge target on their backs with no room for any errors or mistakes.
Going into the 1st round of the national tournament bracket, CCC Lady Tigers matched up with Bob Jones. Lady Tigers Janiya Gilliam, Jurnee Hicks, Elisa Gonzalez and Destiny Gonzalez on limited minutes due to injuries, and Lady Tigers Imani Honey, Nay Manning and Rebecca Farmer playing through painful injuries with no limitations- the Tigers were able to return Aaliyah Clark and Sckiya Banister from injuries but with limited minutes as well.
With a tough, strong and determined team, the Lady Tigers clawed in pain and cleared a W against Bob Jones in the 1st round 86-62. Nay Manning stepped up and led Champion with 15 points (6 for 8), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block. Imani Honey gave a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Rebecca Farmer chimed in with 14 points and 4 rebounds. Destiny Gonzalez added 12 points going 100% from the FT line and the 3-PT line. Followed by freshman Jurnee Hicks who added 10 points.
Earning a spot in the semi-final round of the national tournament, Champion matched up with Arlington Baptist, another revengeful game of rivalry. Champion started out strong leading the 1st quarter 18-14. Going into the 2nd quarter, Champion lost the lead. The Lady Tigers couldn't buy a bucket nor make a stop. ABU held Champion to 13 points while scoring 34 points: making the half time score 48-31 ABU. Champion Lady Tigers came out hard the 3rd quarter and held ABU to just 17 points, but the basketball goal rims had something else in mind for the Lady Tigers. The Tigers in the 3rd quarter alone, shot 1-10 from the 3-PT line and blew multiple wide open lay ups that would go in and spin right out- going 7-21 from the field. With some of the worst and unforeseen stats ever put up by the Lady Tigers- Champion still outscored ABU in the 3rd 21-17. Going into the 4th, the Lady Tigers played extremely hard and through a lot of obstacles: the 2nd quarter flop, the injury bug, and the magical lid over the rim, CCC Tigers couldn't get over the hump to defeat the ABU Lady Patriots. Champion finished the game 29.9% from FG, 16% from the 3-PT, and 56.5% from FT- seemingly beating themselves, 90-70 ABU. Imani Honey led with a double-double:16 points and 21 rebounds plus 4 assists and 4 steals. Nay Manning followed up with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. Both Elisa Gonzalez and Aaliyiah Clark added 11 points and 3 rebounds each.
Champion Lady Tigers still achieved advancing to the Final Four and had the opportunity to place 3rd at the NCCAA DII National Tournament- and that's exactly what they did. Though being knocked down in the semi-finals, the Lady Tigers somehow again matched up Ozark Christian College as they too beat themselves and lost in their semi-final game against Pensacola Christian College. Though both teams were not playing for 1st, one would have thought just by watching it that it was the championship game. Both teams came out for redemption of the prior night's games. By the final horn of the final game of the final tournament of the season, Champion's Lady Tigers kept their heads up and took home the 3rd place title and trophy of the NCCAA DII National Championship against well known opponent Ozark's Lady Ambassadors 77-66. Imani Honey achieved another double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, plus 3 assists- making the All-Tournament Team. Followed by Rebecca Farmer and Elisa Gonzalez with 14 points each and combined 11 rebounds. Aaliyiah Clark chimed in with 10 points.
The Lady Tigers ended the season on a high note with a win, 2/3 Championship Titles, and multiple awards and accomplishments amongst the team. Though it was not the results Champion was hoping for, we cannot be more proud of everything that was accomplished.
WAY TO GO LADY TIGERS ON A GREAT SEASON!!