The veterans got it done in the late going to get the new coach her first win.
Jasmine Johnson and Courtney Sullivan were key down the stretch for the Marshalltown Community College women's basketball team as they rallied to defeat NIACC 66-61 at the Student Activity Center.
Sullivan's late 3-pointer finally drew the Tigers even with 2 minutes to go, then Johnson gave Marshalltown (6-13, 4-4 ICCAC Division II) its first lead of the second half with a 3-pointer of her own in the final minute. Sullivan's free throws kept MCC ahead.
Wednesday marked the first game for volunteer head coach Alison Lacey. The former Iowa State University standout was named coach back in December but has been dealing with visa issues.
"She obviously knows what she's doing," Sullivan said. "She knows how to coach the game so we don't have to try to do too much on our own. I'm glad to have her back."
Johnson, a sophomore forward for the Tigers that was a first team all-conference pick last winter at Lincoln Land CC, led the way with 15 points. The sophomore guard Sullivan added 13 points, all in the second half. Sophomore Arielle Lockett had 11 points.
"I thought we played good in spurts and we got complacent at times," Lacey said. "We did a great job of coming back at the end and finding a way to win. Jasmine hits a big three to get us going and Courtney hit some big free throws."
NIACC (11-11, 3-5) had the vast majority of its scoring come from the combination of Kika Greenlee and Sadie Pittman. Greenlee finished with 24 points and Pittman 23. The two accounted for 30 of the team's 33 first-half points.
The Trojans went on a 9-0 run to end the half as MCC went scoreless for the final 4:36 to take a 33-27 lead.
"Our consistency is a problem and sometimes we just get complacent," Lacey said. "It's been the story of the whole season, we go in spurts. We need to piece together a whole 40 minutes, not 2 minutes every once in a while."
It was a struggle at times, but the Tigers never trailed by more than that six-point margin in the second half. They took the lead as Johnson's second 3-pointer of the season came with 53 seconds left. Marshalltown went 5-for-9 behind the arc after halftime, compared to 1-for-10 before the intermission.
"Second half I stuck with a certain five players. They've got a lot of experience and I trust them with the ball," Lacey said. "It paid off in the end, they came up with a big win."
Sullivan shot 5-of-6 from the foul line over the last 27 seconds to seal the victory. She was able to grab the rebound from her miss to return to the line for another two shots.
"We just never gave up and we weren't playing scared," Sullivan said. "Certainly we had people step up at the end to win."
Lockett finished with a double-double with 12 rebounds to go with her 11 points. She also had four assists and three steals. Shantal Tobler added four assists to go with nine points, while Johnson had three assists.
Lacey will be on the bench for Saturday's 5 p.m. matchup with NJCAA No. 15 DMACC (17-4, 6-2) at the Student Activity Center. Lacey has been offered and accepted the head coaching job, said MCC Director of Athletics Dan Huntley, with some paperwork yet to be completed to make it official.