Tyler blitzes No. 1 seed Three Rivers for upset victory, 70-42
LUBBOCK, Texas – Deborah Ogayemi poured in 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Tyler Junior College opened the game with 22 straight points to pull off the upset of the NJCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championships so far, ousting No. 1 seed Three Rivers Community College 70-42 in a second-round matchup Thursday at the Rip Griffin Center.
Shadiya Thomas chipped in 16 points for the Apaches (25-8), who led 42-11 at the intermission and held the nation’s top-ranked team to its lowest point total of the season. The win vaults Tyler into the quarterfinals for the second straight year but with a load of confidence going forward.
“We already said we’re winning it (all),” Thomas said. “I don’t know if that was anybody else just guessing, but we’re serious. We want that ring. (Beating) No. 1 was nice, we won, great, but I’ll give it about 20 minutes, and I promise you we’ll be on to the nest game and watching film tonight.”
The road will get tougher for the Apaches, but if they keep playing like they did on Thursday, Thomas could end up being a prophet.
Three Rivers came into the national tournament undefeated and ranked third in the country in scoring at 86.9 points per game. Its previous low for points scored in a contest was 67 way back in November in a game against fellow tournament participant Moberly Area Community College – but still a win.
On Thursday, the Raiders were taken out of the game before they ever got started, missing their first 14 shots before Karlee Holland hit a layup with 1:53 to play in the first quarter. Three Rivers finished the first half shooting just 15 percent (5 of 34) from the floor and 0-for-11 from 3-point range after coming into the game hitting 33.2 percent from beyond the arc.
“We knew it was a David and Goliath moment,” Tyler head coach Trenia Tillis Hoard said. “We knew they were 28-0 and hadn’t lost a game. We knew they were a volatile team, but what we did is we come out of a tough region, and we compare every team to what we’ve seen. This one was a mosh of a bunch of different teams but I felt like our kids handled the pressure, did what we needed to do and kept a level head.
“The kids stayed in the moment, stayed in the grind and even though we made some mistakes, I thought they just kept playing basketball.”
Tyler, meanwhile, got off to the best start it could have dreamed possible, hitting on its first four shots and the first 22 points of the game before Three Rivers found the basket. And it came in all shapes and sizes with Thomas hitting from outside, Wills on the inside and Ogayemi at the free-throw line.
The Apaches hit 45 percent (15 of 33) from the field in the first half and dominated on the boards (32-16), including a 13-10 edge on the offensive boards. Tyler’s defense limited Three Rivers to one shot most times down the floor and took the Raiders out of the game before it really got started.
Ogayemi finished the first half with 13 points and Thomas added 12.
Joi Montgomery led Three Rivers in the first half with six points.
Three Rivers made a couple of runs late in the game that, in any other game, would have been key moments. But being down so much so quickly, those runs mattered little.
Three Rivers finished the game 23.9 percent (16 of 67) from the field and just 16 percent (4 of 25) from 3-point range.
“We knew one of their biggest strengths was shooting and we knew we had to take that away,” Ogayemi said.