— By GREG WEBB
SALINA, KS - Sophomore forward Johvanna Darrington drained both ends of a 1-and-1 free throw opportunity with four seconds left, securing a first-round victory on Monday, as Weatherford College beat Northeast College, 72-68.
WC had a slow start in the opening game of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Championship Tournament, falliing behind by 12 points midway into the first half. But the final 10 minutes of the opening stanza saw a complete turnaround, with the Coyotes' perimeter shooting heating up. Desiree King stroked three long-range shots during the 25-11 run.
WC extended its lead in the second half, but Northeast would not cede the game easily, fighting back to within a basket in the closing seconds. A late Northeast turnover spelled doom for the Lady Hawks, who were forced to foul, giving Darrington the freebies at the line.
Darrington led WC with 16 points. Itiana Taylor had 15 and Bre' Brooks, though having trouble finding her range, scored 13 and had 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Alexia Kelley had 12 rebounds in the match and aided WC's first half recovery, blocking seven shots.
Weatherford will rest up tonight and face top-seeded Trinity College, who enjoyed a first-round bye, on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
See the full WC-NECC game story in Tuesday's Weatherford Democrat.