It’s normally true in sports teams play better on their home court or home field or whatever the case may be.
The Crowder Lady Roughriders have definitely made that a truism this season, improving to 11-1 overall on their home floor at Bob Sneller Gymnasium after their 84-81 overtime victory Wednesday night over Region 16 opponent State Fair.
The Lady ‘Riders last dropped a game on their home court, well, we have to go all the way back to November 17 and a 61-60 loss to Northern Oklahoma-Enid, a team that’s been nationally-ranked in NJCAA Division I most of the season.
Wednesday’s win makes it nine straight home wins.
Crowder improved to 18-7 overall and 4-2 Region 16 with a road game coming up Saturday against Jefferson. The next home game will be against Mineral Area at 2 p.m. Monday.
Monday’s home game will be a critical one, since Crowder and Mineral Area currently are the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in Region 16, respectively, separated by a mere 1/2 game in the standings. The top two seeds will hold an opening round bye in the six-team postseason tournament, and unbeaten Moberly has already wrapped up one of the top two seeds.
Regular season play concludes February 24.
In the State Fair game Wednesday, Crowder trailed 29-18 only 1 minute, 28 seconds into the second quarter after the Lady Roadrunners rushed out of the gates with the first six points.
Crowder settled down after that and trailed 43-37 at halftime.
The teams played even in the third quarter and then Crowder forced overtime with a 20-14 advantage in the fourth.
Crowder then outscored State Fair 11-8 in overtime.
The Lady ‘Riders finished with five players scoring at least nine points, achieving that balance they have consistently displayed this season.
Sophomore post Zahria White proved a pain for State Fair, as No. 34 delivered a team-high 22 points and eight rebounds.
Sophomore guards Michaela Mack and Coley Ickes proved again to be the engines that make Crowder go into another gear, adding 15 and 14 points, respectively, and playing vital roles in the comeback. Mack tallied three assists.
The freshman tandem of Alex Vogt and Elle Williams — former high school rivals at Carl Junction and West Plains, respectively — finished with 11 and nine points, respectively.
Maegan Bandimere and Tori Coulter each hit trifectas for their lone three points of the night, while Aubrie Ayers and Bethaney Gilkey each transcended two points by their quality time spelling White.
State Fair relied heavily on the outside shot, knocking down eight trifectas with at least two made by the trio of Jazzmyn Elston, Catie Kaifes, and Rencia Rolling.
Rolling led State Fair with 22 points, while Kaifes had 17 and Maya Brewer 15. Elston added nine, Grace Morrow eight, and Brionna Hill seven for the 11-14 overall Lady Roadrunners.
CROWDER 84, STATE FAIR 81 (OT)
State Fair 23 20 16 14 8 — 81
Crowder 18 19 16 20 11 — 84
STATE FAIR (11-14, 2-5) — Rencia Rolling 22, Brionna Hill 7, Myka Mullin 2, Michaela Bethel 1, Maya Brewer 15, Jazzmyn Elston 9, Catie Kaifes 17, Grace Morrow 8.
CROWDER (18-7, 4-2) — Coley Ickes 14, Tori Coulter 3, Maegan Bandimere 3, Aubrie Ayers 2, Bethaney Gilkey 2, Michaela Mack 15, Morgan Crawford 3, Alex Vogt 11, Elle Williams 9, Zahria White 22.
3-point goals — State Fair 8 (Elston 3, Kaifes 2, Rolling 2, Brewer), Crowder 5 (Ickes 2, Coulter, Bandimere, Mack).