Raiders Show Grit in NJCAA Tournament Win Against Casper College

The Northwest Florida Raiders overcame an early deficit and a sharp-shooting Casper College team to emerge victorious with a 76-69 win in the NJCAA Tournament.

 It looked really bad early – but the Northwest Florida Raiders would show grit and determination after surviving a three point onslaught from Casper College in the first half – and take 76-69 win to move on to the next round of the NJCAA Tournament. 

But The Raiders proved they could give and take touch punches to advance through this tournament. 

That kind of tenacity makes them contenders to repeat as NJCAA Champions. 

Casper College essentially had a home game as the tournament will take place in Casper. Typically, the tournament is in Lubbock, but an arena remodel moved it to Casper for 2024. 

Additionally, Casper College canceled school at 2 PM so everyone could attend the game. 

About two thousand fans showed up in force for the T-Birds in the second game in two days. 

First Quarter

Celia Rivière would net the first bucket of the night to start scoring, but the long three-point shots would define the first quarter. Six would drop in the first ten minutes of play. 

Andi Schissler would get the first three of the night – and not stop there. Schissler has had a great season from behind the three-point line – shooting 40%. 

Destiney McPhaul would answer early – and keep the Raiders in the game with her scoring. She’d add six points in the first two minutes of the game – but the Thunderbirds would separate as the game went on – thanks to repeated, devastating three balls. 

Anna Csenyi scores for three from deep. The Hungarian would make it 15-13 right before the media timeout.

After the break, Andi Schissler would make another long ball. The Thunderbirds would not stop there. The first time Casper missed from three would take place with just a minute left in the first quarter. After that miss, they’d drop two more and end the quarter with a 29-18 lead. 

Second Quarter

The forecast called for more three-pointers from the Thunderbirds as the second quarter started. 

The Raider’s defense inside the three-point arc remained resolute – but the hot hands from behind the arc allowed the T-birds to stay outside the defense perimeter and make them pay. They’d be 9-11 halfway through the second quarter. 

The referees made some questionable calls through the middle of the second quarter, which would have put the T-birds a couple of points further ahead. 

The Raiders would cut into the lead as the quarter continued with disciplined inside-the-paint scoring – getting as close as six points before Casper’s hot streak piped up again. They’d keep about the same distance between them and the Raiders – and end the quarter with a nine-point lead. 

The Raiders ended the half shooting just 23.1% from the three-point line but a respectable 44.4% on all field goals. 

3rd quarter

Destiney McPhaul and company would chip away bit by bit on the T-bird lead as Casper fell victim to the law of averages behind the three-point line. As the Raiders moved into the third quarter media timeout – they would trail by just three points. 

The Raiders would take the lead back from the T-Birds for the first time since the beginning of the game. 

Solid defensive pressure would crack Casper in the third quarter – steals and rebounds galore would keep a small lead for the Raiders as they marched toward the final quarter of play. 

4th quarter

A three-pointer from Mekhia Chase would increase the lead for The Raiders at the beginning of the fourth quarter to 67-59, but the T0birtds would answer right back – and show some fight of their own in the process. 

The Raiders would come out of the last media timeout with a five-point lead – and the guts to hold the fort against Casper. 

Caspers Andi Schissler would hit both of her free throws out of the media timeout to put the T-birds within three points of the Raiders. 

Destiney McPhaul would keep them out of a one-point game with a sweet euro step as the clock wound down at a snail’s pace. 

Deborah Davenport made an important block with three minutes to go, keeping the teams separated. Destiney McPhaul took the turnover from the block and added two more points to the Raiders’ lead. 

McPhaul would grab a steal with just two minutes left and miss a layup on the other end of the court. Deborah Davenport would swoop into the lane, snag the ball, draw the foul, and convert one of the two free throws she’d earn to increase the lead a bit more. 

Anna Csenyi’s dagger three gave the Birds a last-gasp chance and put Casper within five points. 

Deborah Davenport would total 23 on the night, including a last critical basket at the one-minute mark to put the final nail in Casper’s coffin. 

Final score 76-69. Raiders. 

 

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