State Colleges

Poole, Sterling complete KCAC sweep

PARK CITY — As one of the best players in the league the last four years, Zach Goodrich's 25 points for Sterling College in Monday night's 77-62 KCAC championship game victory over McPherson didn't come as a surprise to anyone in Hartman Arena.

The 22 points the Warriors got from Zach Poole, who averages 5.9 points, was a little more unexpected.

"We've got so many guys that can take over a game, we've been that way all year," said Goodrich, who was also named the KCAC Player of the Year on Monday. "Tonight, that guy was Poole."

Poole, a 5-foot-11 junior from Arlington, hit six three-pointers in the win, including four in a row during a second-half stretch that busted the game open for the Warriors.

"I feel like everything starts with Goodrich," Poole said. "He sets the tone for everybody on the team. He's the leader. If tonight was my night, well, I guess I got lucky."

The victory gave the Warriors a sweep of the KCAC regular-season and tournament titles. Sterling and McPherson will both play in next month's NAIA Division II Tournament beginning March 9 in Point Lookout, Mo. Sterling is in by virtue of its pair of titles and McPherson by being the next-highest seeded team to make it to the conference finals.

"This group of seniors is the first recruiting class I ever brought in, so they're special to me," Sterling coach Dean Jaderston said. "They've gone through moments in their careers where they've had to battle through some things, but tonight you saw them play hard, and they played smart."

Neither team could gain much of a foothold in the first half, when Sterling's biggest lead came at 24-19 on a pair of Goodrich free throws, but the Bulldogs rallied to take a 29-28 lead on two free throws from Trent Severs.

Even when McPherson's Samson Shivers hit what appeared to be a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give his team a 32-31 lead, upon review it was ruled a two and the teams went into the break tied.

"I really thought we were playing pretty well defensively at that point," McPherson coach Tim Swartzendruber said. "But then Sterling came out and they made shots. Give them credit."

The Warriors stormed to a 55-38 lead with just over 11 minutes to play behind five straight three-pointers — four from Poole — while hitting nine of their first 11 shots. Poole banked in the third one, falling away from the basket as the shot clock expired.

"Poole hits that bank shot... there's not much you can do to guard that," Swartzendruber said. "And once we got behind we started to take some quicker shots when we needed to attack more and work for better looks."

Goodrich also won a regular-season title as a sophomore but lost to Ottawa in the league championship game.

"This means more because I could see how the guys played for me, played for the seniors," Goodrich said. "We might not have a lot of all-stars, but we get the job done."

McPHERSON (19-13): Reinhardt 2-3 0-0 4, J. Crawford 3-7 3-4 9, Frazier 3-11 3-4 9, Severs 3-6 3-4 9, Shivers 3-11 1-2 9, Jackson 3-9 0-0 7, Hewitt 4-6 0-0 10, C. Crawford 1-6 2-5, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Powers 0-1 0-0 0, Bruner 0-0 0-0 0, Woods 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-60 12-19 62.

STERLING (21-10): Brazelton 3-5 1-2 7, McGrath 3-4 2-4 8, Goodrich 6-13 9-10 25, Stutzman 1-6 2-2 4, Poole 7-12 2-3 22, Ferro 1-1 0-0 2, Odomes 1-2 2-6 4, Alexander 0-3 5-8 5, Brown 0-0 0-2 0, Boarman 0-0 0-0 0, Swiontek 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-46 23-37 77.

Halftime—Tied 31-31. 3-point shooting—McPherson 6-31 (Shivers 2-10, Hewitt 2-3, Jackson 1-5, C. Crawford 1-4, J. Crawford 0-2, Frazier 0-5, Severs 0-1, Powers 0-1); Sterling 10-24 (Poole 6-8, Goodrich 4-11, Stutzman 0-3, Alexander 0-2). Rebounds—McPherson 33 (J. Crawford 13); Sterling 40 (Brazelton 8). Assists—McPherson 10 (Severs 6), Sterling 10 (Goodrich 4). Total fouls—McPherson 28, Sterling 20.

Kansas Wesleyan women 74, Sterling 59 Stephanie Frost had 22 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals to lead Kansas Wesleyan to the KCAC women's championship. Montric Santee added 14 points, four assists and four steals for the Coyotes.

KCAC Player of the Year Britany Gasper led Sterling with 17 points.

Both teams have earned bids for the NAIA Division II Tournament beginning March 9 in Sioux City, Iowa.

KANSAS WESLEYAN (31-2): Frost 11-14 0-2 22, Ekno 2-4 0-0 4, Santee 3-10 8-8 14, Babcock 3-6 3-3 10, Wilkinson 2-8 2-2 6, Novack 1-6 1-2 3, Bunde 3-7 2-4 8, Alexander 3-3 0-0 6, Jensen 0-2 0-0 0, Cassity 0-0 1-2 1, Potthoff 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-60 17-23 74.

STERLING (26-5): Racette 1-4 0-0 3, Gasper 7-12 3-5 17, Lucas 7-13 0-0 14, Ewert 2-7 0-0 4, Herman 1-10 6-7 8, Patrick 4-9 0-0 9, Spliess 0-0 0-0 0, Curtis 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 24-58 9-12 59.

Halftime—KWU 32-31. 3-point shooting—KWU 1-11 (Babcock 1-3, Wilkinson 0-2, Santee 0-1, Novack 0-3, Jensen 0-2); Sterling 2-14 (Racette 1-2, Patrick 1-5, Lucas 0-2, Herman 0-4, Curtis 0-1). Rebounds — KWU 42 (Frost 7); Sterling 29 (Patrick 6). Total fouls — KWU 16, Sterling 18. Assists — KWU 12 (Santee 4), Sterling 4 (Herman 2).

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