By CINDY CROSBY Cindyc4@yahoo.com The Salkehatchie Lady Indians finished sixth in the 2021 NJCAA DII Women’s Basketball Championships held at Catawba Valley’s Tarlton Complex in Hickory, North Carolina on April 20-24. The Lady Indians entered the tournament seeded in the No. 10 spot in a field of 16 teams, 15 of which garnered automatic bids and one at-large qualifier.
The Lady Indians were one of two undefeated teams to enter tournament play and finished the 2020-21 season 20-2 overall and 12-0 in Region X. In game one held Tuesday April 20, the Lady Indians defeated the No. 7 seed Arkansas State University Mid-South 74-68.
Mariah Igus scored 23 points and claimed six rebounds in the game. Other scoring included Andre’sia Alexander (17 points); Kaia Simpson (12 points); Breah Keitt (nine points); Halle Davis (seven points); Omari Kirkland (four points); and Shatyra Moree (two points). The Lady Indians advanced in the winner’s bracket to face the No. 2 seed Lake Land (Ohio) the following evening. Salkehatchie trailed 17-13 at the end of the first quarter but fought back to tie the game at 30 at halftime.
At the end of the third period, Salkehatchie trailed 44-39. With 6:12 left in the game, the Lady Indians came from behind to tie the game at 50. With 1:35 left in the game, Lake Land had a four-point advantage (57-53) before hitting a few timely three-pointers for a final of 61-55.
Mariah Igus led with 18 points, 2 assists and two steals. Other scoring included Alexander (eight points); Keitt (seven points); Kirkland (six points); Moree (six points); Davis (five points); Aliana Gilmore (three points); and Antwanique Walley (two points). The loss dropped Salkehatchie into the consolation bracket where they would face No. 14 Union County the following afternoon. The Lady Indians claimed the victory 82-62. Kaia Simpson led with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists. Other scoring included Alexander (16 points); Igus (13 points); Jae’La Dunn (eight points): Kirkland (six points); Keitt (six points); Moree (six points); Walley (three points); and Gilmore (two points). Battling for the fifth place in the tournament, the Lady Indians faced the No. 1 seed Kirkwood Saturday April 24 and fell short 84-78. Andre’sia Alexander was the lone sophomore on the Lady Indians roster at the end of the season, with a number of freshmen returning for the 2021-22 season.