Knights win thriller, advance to National Tournament

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The NPCC women's basketball team hosted United Tribes Technical College in the Region IX, District F championship game on Saturday.

The Knights and Thunderbirds traded blows early, but with 3:22 left in the first half, the power went out at McDonald-Belton. After about a half hour, the decision was made to move the game to St. Pat's high school.

At St. Pat's, the Thunderbirds went on a run, and led by 13 with three minutes left in the third quarter.

In the fourth, the Knights mounted a comeback, and two clutch free throws by Nahatabaa Nacona tied the score at 55. On the ensuing Thunderbird possession, Nacona got the steal and the transition bucket for the game-winning bucket, 57-55 was the final.

Nacona (14), Madisyn Francis (24), and Emily Joseph (12), scored 50 of the team's 57 points.

"You couldn't have scripted this. I mean, lights go out, in our own building, we had to come over to St. Pat's, and we're very fortunate for them to have us here. Down thirteen with three minutes to go in the third and our kids battled. [Madisyn] and [Nahatabaa] were huge for us down the stretch, hitting big free throws and attacking the hoop. We battled, persevered through it, and just found a way to get it done," head coach Jeff Thurman said.

The Knights advance to the national tournament in Harrison, Ark. Matchups will be released after this weekend's district games are played. The first-round games will be played March 19-20.