The Riverland Community College Blue Devils women’s basketball team, the No. 7 seed in the NJCAA Division III women’s basketball tournament and a winner in the first round over No. 10 seed Dallas College-Mountainview faced a far sterner test in the quarterfinals against No. 2 seed Fulton-Montgomery Community College from Johnstown, New York at Rochester Community and Technical College Thursday evening, but it was a test the Blue Devils passed with flying colors as Austin High School grad Reana Schmitt led the way with a massive effort of 25 points, 19 rebounds, two assists, one steal and all six of the club’s blocked shots in a 72-60 Riverland upset.
Fulton-Montgomery held a slim 31-28 lead at the half, and the Raiders had a five point lead at 38-33 in the third quarter when Schmitt made a layup, drew a foul and swished the ensuing free throw to made the score 38-36 with 6:33 left in the quarter. A jumper from Schmitt tied the game at 38 :33 seconds later, and after the Raiders moved out in front 42-40, a jumper from Savannah Longhoma, with an assisst to Schmitt, and later two free throws and a layup from Schmitt with :38 seconds left in the quarter gave the Blue Devils a 46-42 lead after three quarters of play.
With Riverland leading 55-53 with 4:09 to play in the game, a layup from Nora Mecoleta with 3:41 left keyed what turned out to be a game-clinching 10-2 Blue Devil run to make the score 65-55, as the Riverland defense forced three missed field goals in that span, and two layups from Schmitt, a jumper from Mecoleta and another jumper from Camryn McQuery with 1:09 left capped the scoring run. The Raiders never got closer than seven points the rest of the way, and free throws from Mecoleta, Schmitt, plus a jumper from McQuery in the final :52 seconds clinched the upset for the Blue Devils.
Three other Blue Devils were in double figures in scoring besides Schmitt, as Mecoleta wound up with 14 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals, Cayli Miles tallied 13 points, McQuery scored 10 points, plus she added seven rebounds and four assists, Savannah Longhoma tallied five points, seven rebounds, four assists and a team-high four steals, and Kenai Holien scored all five bench points in the game for the Blue Devils, plus she dished out a team-high six assists in the win.
With the win, Riverland is now 23-5 on the season, and next up for the Blue Devils will be a rematch with No. 3 seed RCTC, who the Blue Devils knocked off in the Region XIII championship by a score of 67-60 back on February 26th.
Tip-off will be at 7:00 p.m. this (Friday) evening.