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Women Earn Region XVI Top Seed and Honor Coach’s Father

February 20, 2012

Given the circumstances, Shelly Ethridge’s day couldn’t have wrapped up much better.

The St. Louis Community College women’s basketball coach’s  team entered Saturday with an opportunity to clinch the top seed in the Region XVI Tournament with a win over North Central College. Adding to that drama was that Saturday’s contest was played in honor of Ethridge’s father, Mike, who died of cancer in December 2011.

“A lot of emotions were left on that floor tonight,” Ethridge said. “They knew with my dad, how important this game was to me, and it was so important for us to win this game to get that No. 1 seed. So there was a lot of pressure before this game started.”

Ethridge’s players responded well to the pressure, as they jumped out to an early first-half lead they would never relinquish en route to a 74-66 win. The Archers were paced by the freshman tandem of Datona Ball (Quincy, Ill.) and Shakaunna Futrell (Hazelwood West), who combined for 39 points.

Early in the second half, Futrell collected her third personal foul of the game. Typically, Ethridge would have pulled her point guard in that scenario, but a similar experience in a midseason road loss at North Central had the Archers’ head coach thinking differently.

“’Nay-Nay’ was in foul trouble at their place, and she sat out about 15 minute,  and I thought that was a major reason why we struggled against them,” Ethridge said. “Tonight, she got those three fouls and I challenged her to show me that she learned from that last game. Boy, did she rise to the occasion tonight.”

Futrell finished the night with 17 points on eight-of-19 shooting from the floor while playing a team-most 39 minutes. With the memory of the Archers’ 70-64 loss at North Central ever-present in her mind, Futrell was quick to note the significance of sealing the regular season Region XVI title against the Lady Pirates.

“Hallelujah that we won,” Futrell said. “It’s an amazing accomplishment for us to beat this team. I just had to play for my team and play smart. Coach (Ethridge) said she needed me, so I had to do what I had to do to stay out of foul trouble.”
In addition to the Archers’ scoring punch, STLCC out-rebounded North Central 46-33 for the game. Ball and sophomore forward Shonnisha Davis (Normandy) each reached 10 rebounds in the game, with Ball leading the way with a game-high 13 boards.

The regular season Region XVI title is the culmination of a season-long growth period for the Archers, as they have played  with just two sophomores.  Ethridge and assistant coach Melanie Marcy have routinely employed all-freshman lineups, and have emerged successfully. With Saturday’s win, the Archers improved to 14-9, and are winners of nine of their past 11 games. Up next for STLCC is Lewis and Clark Community College on Monday at Forest Park.

Sideline Notes

  • Coach Ethridge’s family raised money throughout the game for the Mike Ethridge “Never Give Up” Campaign. All proceeds from Saturday’s game will benefit a young man battling leukemia
  • Preceding the Feb. 20 game, STLCC will honor the Archers’ two sophomores, Markita Mosley and Shonnisha Davis.