Jan. 23—A third-quarter surge lifted No. 4 Ozark Christian College to a 68-57 triumph over No. 9 Dallas Christian College in a top-10 NCCAA women's tilt on Saturday inside the OCC Multipurpose Building in Joplin.
The matchup saw the Ambassadors come into play at 13-2 and riding a 13-game win streak. The No. 9 Crusaders entered the day 16-5.
The first half showed exactly what you would expect from two teams of their caliber. OCC held a 32-28 lead at the intermission.
The third quarter, however, was the difference maker.
"You know what, we finally just started to settle down a little bit," OCC head women's coach Kyle Wicklund said. "The whole game we were a little tense on offense, a little tense on defense. We finally got a few steals and that's the way we like to play. We got a few layups out of it, so, that just settled us down and got us back into a normal rhythm."
Ozark came out on a mission defensively to begin the second half. Kamryn Gentry grabbed a steal on the first possession of the quarter. The very next Crusader possession resulted in a blocked shot by Gentry.
Those stops would spark a run of 11 consecutive defensive stops to open the period for the Ambassadors. Ozark held the ninth-ranked team scoreless for nearly the first six minutes of the third stanza.
During that stretch, Dallas turned the ball over four times, missed seven shots and two free throws. Two of those missed shots came on blocks by OCC.
DCC got their first bucket with 4:17 remaining in the third off of a Keiarra Rivers layup. By that time, Ozark was leading 42-30.
"We talked about this game," Wicklund said. "We can't gamble. They will turn the ball over to us and when they do we've got to execute and we did a phenomenal job today of keeping them in front and when they turned the ball over we were able to execute."
OCC utilized those opportunities created by defense to pull away for a 51-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Ambassadors were powered offensively by someone coach Wicklund calls a "double-double kid".
Kamryn Gentry recorded a double-double in the second half alone. Gentry pulled down 10 rebounds and added 10 points. The junior center tallied 13 points and 19 rebounds for the entire contest.
"We needed that today," Wicklund said. "Today was just something different because she was getting double teamed every time she caught the ball. We couldn't pass her the ball because she was double- triple-teamed. Her willingness to do all the little things — get every single offensive rebound and set screens for her teammates — was huge for us tonight."
Gentry added three blocks, three steals and an assist to her stat sheet. She led the team in points, rebounds, blocks and steals.
The Ambassadors used their third-quarter run as a cushion as they went on to win 68-57.
Taylor Peterson was right behind Gentry with 12 points of her own and two three-pointers.
Darian Carr made a few of her team-leading five assists to Gentry for layups down low. Carr added eight points as well.
Makenzie Purinton tallied nine points. All 10 players who touched the floor for OCC scored during the contest. Bench scoring was strong as they won that battle 32-6.
Dallas Christian was led by Rivers with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Amber Covington added 15 points while Mckayla Washington dropped in 12.
OCC held the Crusaders to 32% shooting for the game and didn't allow a single made 3-pointer. The Ambassadors shot 38% and just under 30% from beyond the arc at 8 for 27.
Ozark Christian looks to continue their run as they host Calvary University at 5 p.m. on Tuesday night.
"Honestly, probably something like this," Wicklund said. "A not-very-good game and us getting pushed a little bit to make us realize we're not invincible. ... Games like this where we get pushed, I think it's a little bit of a wake-up call that there's areas that we still have to work on and get better at."
DCC MEN 95, OCC 86
Talk about a tale of two halves.
OCC men (8-10) opened the game firing on all cylinders. From draining three-point baskets to finding open looks under the basket, the Ambassadors were doing it all.
"Basically we were moving the ball because they were in a run-and-jump trap defense so we were moving the ball, finding the open man and knocking shots down," OCC head men's coach Chris Lahm said.
Tyler Alarid and and Josiah Beckenhauer led Ozark to their 50-point first half with 14 and 11 points, respectively. There were five 3-pointers made between the two of them.
Dallas Christian (2-10) didn't shy away from that 50-37 haltime deficit. They grabbed their second win — both over OCC — 95-86 in overtime.
"Once Dallas went straight halfcourt man-to-man they kind of locked us down and we didn't handle that very well," Lahm said.
It took 30 minutes, but with 10 minutes remaining in the second half the Crusaders cut into a 70-56 difference with a jumper from Jarius Allen.
Ozark had outscored Dallas 20-19 before that jumpshot and after it, the tide turned. In the final 10 minutes of regulation, DCC had outscored OCC 22-7.
With the shot clock off and time winding down, Alarid brought the ball down floor for the Ambassadors down 80-77. He weaved around the three-point line with the ball and found himself trapped on the left wing.
With five seconds on the clock he found Beckenhauer near half court. Beckenhauer took a couple dribbles and rose up for a potential game-winner.
He was fouled by a hoist of defenders and never got the shot off.
The freshman guard needed all three free throws to send the game to overtime.
The first attempt hit the front of the iron and rolled in.
Timeout Dallas Christian.
The second attempt was nothing but net.
Timeout Dallas Christian.
The third attempt caught the front of the rim again, bounced to the back of the iron, and came back in.
Game tied at 80 a piece.
The OT period saw Dallas find a groove with a couple made shots, a three-pointer and OCC was behind the eight ball early. The Ambassadors couldn't recover after falling behind 87-80 to open OT.
The last time these two teams met Dallas won 94-67.
Ozark Christian will look to bounce back against Calvary University on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"We've got a lot of conference games coming up. We have to try to compete and try to get to the top of our conference," Lahm said.