HICKORY, N.C. - The Iowa Central women positioned themselves for a chance to pull the upset here Thursday night at the NJCAA Div. II National Championship.
In the end, though, it wasn't meant to be, as Johnson County scored a 63-60 victory to advance to the semifinals over the Tritons.
The Cavaliers (20-1 overall) will meet Illinois Central, who knocked off top-seed Kirkwood. Iowa Central and Kirkwood, ICCAC rivals, will meet at 3 p.m. Friday in a consolation game.
Carley West led the way with 22 points for the Tritons, adding four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Jordan Engbrecht had 18 points, Isabell West eight with 12 rebounds and Taylor McKinney added seven.
Iowa Central led early, taking a 15-9 advantage in the first quarter. Johnson County, who suffered its first loss in its district final but received the lone at-large selection, claimed the lead at the end of the quarter and used a 12-2 run in the second to go up 34-29 at the break.
After a 9-2 burst by Johnson County in the third, the Tritons fought back with a 6-2 run of their own. They were within four late in the third and made it 62-58 on a bucket by Autumn Dykstra with a minute to play.
Following a defensive stop, Isabell West cut the deficit to 62-60, but the Tritons were unable to convert off a turnover and the Cavaliers made a free throw.
For Johnson County, Jaylen Townsend scored 19 and LaJahda Boyland added 17.
-By Dana Becker