The Labette Community College women's basketball team held off Seward County for a 54-49 victory in the Region VI title game on Monday at Koch Arena — the first Region VI women's title in school history.
Tournament MVP Kellindra Zachery led the Cardinals with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Satoria Bell added 19 points and 11 rebounds.
It was also the first women's title for the Jayhawk East since Coffeyville won in 1998.
"It's been a long journey with a lot of blood, sweat and tears," Zachery said. "But I think it's made us better women, better sisters. We truly are a family."
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Trailing 28-19 at halftime, the Saints rallied to within 50-49 with two minutes to play. Bell hit a jumper to make it 52-49 with just over one minute left, and Seward missed five straight shots on its own end — grabbing four offensive rebounds — before calling a time-out, then turned the ball over on the inbounds play.
Labette also held Seward's Rachel Barnes to 13 points after Barnes scored 41 against Cowley in the semifinals.
"Our focus tonight was on defense and stopping Barnes," Zachery said. "Offense was secondary. We knew if we stopped her we could win."
The win advances the Cardinals to the NJCAA Tournament beginning next Tuesday in Salina.
SEWARD COUNTY (31-3): Junior 8, Skomal 0, Washington 8, Ginther 0, Lassley 9, Spresser 0, Barnes 13, Robinett 0, Rosario 11. Totals 18-59 12-15 49.
LABETTE (31-3): Bell 19, Zachery 15, Sunde 0, Smith 14, Kelly 4, Henderson 0, Andrews 0, Pledger 2, Johnson 0. Totals 20-55 13-20 53.
Halftime: Labette 28, Seward 19. 3's: Seward 1-10 (Lassley); Labette 1-6 (Bell). Rebounds: Seward 34 (Rosario 7); Labette 49 (Zachery 14). Assists: Seward 8 (Junior 4); Labette 10 (Smith 4).