CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio – Maranatha’s first step towards an NCCAAII title was a big one, racing their way past the #8 North Central Rams, 84-45 Thursday afternoon in Circleville, Ohio.
With the win, Maranatha advances to the semifinals on Friday at 6:00 p.m. EST against the winner of Thursday’s matchup between #4 Trinity Baptist and #5 Ohio Christian.
The Crusaders faced their only deficit in the opening two minutes of the game before breaking out a 25-11 lead on a fast-paced offense that led to 17-31 (55%) shooting from the field in the first half.
Senior guard Hallie Sheley (Rockford, Ill.) led the team with 13 first-half points while senior guard Autumn Peotter (Waupaca, Wis.), went 3-4 from downtown for nine points.
Solid defensive play was a major reason for the Crusaders going 6-8 from beyond the arc, as the team out-rebounded the #8 Rams, 26-9 and held their opponent to 20% shooting in the first half, cruising to a big win with leads in the 30’s in the second half.
Sheley finished the day with 18 points on 8-12 shooting while Peotter had 16 points, six assists and three rebounds.