Northwest Florida Lady Raiders Win Regional Basketball Tournament

The NWFSC Women's Basketball team claimed victory in the Region VIII tournament, propelled by stellar performances from key players and Coach Bart Walker's strategic leadership. Now, they set their sights on the national stage for a shot at glory!

Your Northwest Florida State College Women’s Hoops Squad are the 2024 Region VIII tournament champions. 

Thanks to scoring from Mya Pierfax and the all-around talents of Celia Riviere, The Raiders fought a tough Gulf Coast team that had four all-tournament team players to the end and pulled out a victory. 

The Raiders are guaranteed a spot in the national tournament in Casper, Wyoming that will take place later this month. 

Tournament organizers named Northwest Florida’s Deborah Davenport, Mekhia Chase, Celia Riviere, and Destiney McPhaul to the all-tournament team – and named Celia Riviere the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. 

Coach Bart Walker was named the coach of the year, as well. 

 

1st Quarter | 17-14

Get ’em to the line – the Commodores were awful in the first quarter. Get Aleighya Bartholomew behind the three-point line – she was devastating. Bartholomew hit 3-for-7 three-pointers. She’d also make two assists in the game to help Gulf Coast along. 

What’s more impressive, though, is that the 8-woman Gulf Coast team played its five starters every minute of the first half and most of the second. 

2nd Quarter | 35-29

The ‘Dores play small – and Raider Head Coach Bart Walker’s Raiders would try to take advantage of their size to muscle their way into the lead. 

Celia Riviere scored well inside the post with her lithe moves and mid-range jumper. Through the first half, Riviere tallied eight points and four assists. 

Despite Riviere’s efforts, Gulf Coast still managed to extend the lead to six. Poor shooting from the rest of the team; they were 8 for 24, which gave Gulf Coast the opportunities it needed to pull ahead. 

Luckily for the Raiders, the ‘Dores shot an abysmal 2 for 8 from the free throw line in the first half. 

The Raiders would run into the locker room trailing 35-29 at the half. 

3rd Quarter | 42-50

Playing with five players will catch up to you eventually – and it looks like the collective wear and tear of three games in four days caught up to the Commodores. 

Mya Pierfax scored a three from the top of the arc to create some initial daylight between the teams—Destiney McPhaul added another moment later. 

Frustration mounted on the court, with an outburst from Raiane Dias Dos Santos. on her teammates. Gulf Coast Coach Rory Kuhn reached apoplectic levels of anger with the referees by the end of the quarter. 

4th Quarter | 59-63

Destiney McPhaul would exit the court in the fourth quarter with what looked like a lower left leg injury. McPhaul had a challenging start to the night: she was 0 for 4 in the first half but caught her rhythm, six points, and six rebounds by the time of her injury. She’d leave the Raiders up 10 points with eight minutes left to go in the game. 

Gulf Coast called its first sub of the game with six minutes left. Taryn Johnson went in for a briefly injured Raiane Dias Dos Santos. She hit one of her two free throws. 

Another three-point shooting foul called on The Raiders made it Head Coach Bart Walker’s turn to share his thoughts on the finer points of their refereeing. 

Bartholomew hit a three to bring the Dores within six with two minutes left in the game. A fast break looked sure to bring them to four, but the outstretched hand of Celia Riviere prevented a counter-break connection for the Dores. Riviere would also be responsible for the rebound to end the threat. 

Gabby Forde would get a bucket to bring Gulf Coast within four. Coach Walker called a Raider timeout to center the team. Destiney McPhaul would call another one before a second was played as she couldn’t find a player to receive the ball from her throw-in. 

A three from Bartholomew would go out of bounds and head back the Raiders’ way. Pierfax missed both and allowed Dos Santos to send a three ball into the net, putting the Raiders up two. 

Neveah Scott would get her final two free throws for four points ahead. No last-second heroics for the Commodores.

The Lady Raiders are Region champs. 

National tournament time is next. 

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