Kiwis clip tickets for NJCAA Championships

Southern Idaho Golden Eagles

There will be plenty of Kiwi interest in the upcoming NJCAA (Junior College) National Championships after Southern Idaho, South Plains and Otero Colleges all claimed regional titles on Saturday.

After leading the Southern Idaho Golden Eagles to an 83-57 win over Snow College in the Region 18 Championship game Kaitlin Burgess was named Tournament MVP.

She posted 11 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in the final having led all scorers with 22 points, making all 4 attempts from behind the arc, in the semi-final win against Utah State Eastern 24-hours earlier.

That semi-final featured no fewer than six Kiwis as Ella Bradley had 7 points and 6 rebounds for Utah State Eastern with Hannah Bradley scoring three points and Brooklyn Pouwhare claiming a couple of boards.

Back to the final and both Ashlee Strawbridge (8 points and 3 rebounds) and Kyra Paniora (6 assists) made significant contributions in the win.

Grace Hunter and South Plains also claimed championship success with a basket on the buzzer to defeat Weatherford College 74-72 to claim the Region 5 title.

Grace filled the stats line with 6 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists, a steal and a block while Briarley Rogers had 4 points and 4 rebounds for the runners-up.

Leah Mafua and Otero College made it a hat-trick of wins for colleges with Kiwi connections taking out the Region 9 championship title with a 94-89 overtime win against Casper College – no box score details were available at the time of publishing this article.

Otero, South Plains and Southern Idaho, along with Miles Community College have gained automatic bids for the 24-team NJCAA (Junior College) National Championships, April 19-24.

The Selection Show takes place on Monday (NZT) when we will learn if other Kiwis will gain entry via the 8 at large picks.

We will provide an update when the Selection Show concludes.

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