CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio – Maranatha came one step closer to realizing their dreams of an NCCAAII title, handily defeating #4 Trinity Baptist, 87-63 in the semifinals to advance to the championship game at 7:00 p.m. EST on Saturday.
The Crusaders kept their foot on the pedal with a smooth-shooting performance led by senior guard Autumn Peotter, whose 23 points helped her team maintain leads of 20-plus throughout much of the contest.
The team shot 50% from the field during the game and 37% from 3-point range.
Peotter and freshman Stacey Reinke (Clintonville, Wis.) hit a pair of three’s for a 20-6 lead, that increased to a 45-22 margin at the half.
In the second half, Trinity cut the deficit to 55-37 before a Peotter three sparked Maranatha on a 7-2 run and 65-39 lead. The team cruised to their third-straight championship game appearance, having faced Kentucky Christian in each of the last two.
Peotter shot 4-5 from 3-point range, grabbed seven rebounds, dished out nine assists and has been the driving force for an inspired Maranatha squad that has shot over 50% for the second-straight competition at the National Tournament.
Senior guard Hallie Sheley (Rockford, Ill.) chipped in 14 points and six rebounds, while freshman Stacie Ross (Kinross, Mich.) had a big game off the bench with 13 points and seven rebounds.
The Crusaders will face the winner of Friday’s 8:00 p.m. matchup between #2 Manhattan Christian and #3 Kentucky Christian.