Clarksville, Ark.-The Lady Eagles qualified for the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament for the first time since the 2006-2007 season after defeating Texas-Tyler 75-61 Saturday afternoon.
Ozarks (14-11, 10-10 ASC) will be the No. 4 seed from the East Division and will play Howard Payne University, the No. 1 seed from the West Division and the host of the three-day tournament. The Lady Eagles are set to play February 25 at 7:30 p.m. The winner of the tournament, held February 25-27 in Brownwood, Texas, will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA III National Tournament. In just his second year at Ozarks, Head Coach Carl Ramsey posted the program’s first regular season winning record in nearly a decade.
“This is a huge stepping stone for the program,” said Ramsey. “We’ve had a lot of firsts this year. A year ago we were eliminated from playoff contention in December. I think the kids really started believing. Our goal from day one this year was to go to the playoffs.”
The Lady Eagles would pull away in the second half after holding just a 36-34 halftime lead. With Ozarks trailing 47-46 at the 11:48 mark, April Young scored seven straight points to jumpstart a 12-0 run and turn the game in Ozarks’ favor. Texas-Tyler (11-14, 9-11 ASC) would cut it to seven points on four occasions, but the Lady Eagles answered each time to fight off a Patriot comeback. The Patriots made it 67-59 with 3:29 left, but Chelsea Glasscock hit a three-pointer to extend Ozarks’ lead back to 70-59. Young was on fire in the second half, hitting 4-of-4 from the field and 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
“I think it was a game of thirds,” said Ramsey. “In the first half, everything went inside and then we were forced to score from the perimeter more. Later on, we started going back inside and had some balance. That is when I felt like we took charge of the game. April Young was outstanding today. It is hard to ask a kid to do any more than she did today.”
Sabrina Goddard and Young combined for 23 points in the first half. The first twenty minutes saw nine ties and the largest lead by either team was five points.
Young finished with 26 points and hit 7-of-9 from the field, including 4-of-5 from the three-point line. Young was 8-for-8 at the free throw line. Goddard ended with 22 points and nine rebounds. Glasscock had 11 points. Ashley Teague had nine assists.
To view a post-game celebration and interview with Coach Ramsey, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMis0KeJLRY