With just over five minutes remaining in regulation Sunday, it appeared as if Randy Reed’s Archers were poised to parlay an up-and-down regular season into an improbable top seed in the Region XVI Tournament.
It wasn’t to be, however, as Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley responded after seeing what was at one point a 14-point lead whittled to just one with less than six minutes left. Penn Valley outscored STLCC by 13 to close out the game in an 85-71 defeat of the Archers.
The loss dropped the Archers to 13-15 overall, and 4-2 against Region XVI opponents. Due to a tie-breaker with North Central Missouri College, the Archers will enter the Region XVI Tournament as the second-seeded team, and will face third-seeded Wentworth Military Academy at 6 p.m. Thursday in Joplin, Mo.
Penn Valley will enter as the fourth seed. Following the use of ineligible players, Penn Valley was forced to forfeit a number of victories, including Jan.17 against STLCC.
The Archers won each of their games against Wentworth during the regular season, including a 76-71 win on the road just five days previous to Sunday’s loss. But for head coach Randy Reed, extracting positives from a home finale that slipped away becomes difficult.
“This was a big game, and we didn’t handle it well like I thought we would,” Reed said. “We’re still invited to the regional (tournament), and all we can do is go down there and give it our best shot. We’re not going down there with a whole lot of momentum right now, but sometimes when you get an animal backed into a corner and it’s desperate, sometimes they fight harder. So we’ll see.”
A lone bright spot, and a catalyst behind the team’s early second-half surge, was freshman guard Nate Rigmaiden, who supplied eight points and a pair of long 3-pointers to bring the Archers to within a point. The momentum stalled afterward however, leaving the Archers looking for an opportunity to rebound Thursday evening.
- As part of the Archers’ Sophomore Recognition Sunday, guards Sean Robinson, Devon Booker and Jake Hensel, along with forwards Gabe Coach, Donald Stribbling and Joe Henderson, were honored prior to tip-off.
- Of that group, Robinson and Hensel were the lone two-year starters for Reed and the Archers.