A banner season for NIC - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

A banner season for NIC

Cardinals, fans celebrate national hoops title

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Posted: Monday, March 21, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 11:59 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

COEUR d'ALENE - They played hard, worked together, fought through a brutal bracket and bested any team that stood in their way.

And when they returned to Coeur d'Alene on Sunday morning, the North Idaho College women's basketball team carried a national championship trophy into Christianson Gym.

"We couldn't really believe that it just happened," said 19-year-old Kiki Edwards-Teasley, a talented sophomore forward. "I still can't believe it. It still hasn't settled. I don't think it will for a while."

NIC beat Trinity Valley (Texas) 90-81 on Saturday night in Salina, Kan., earning the school's first-ever NJCAA women's basketball national title. The Lady Cardinals came home to a hero's welcome, greeted by friends, family and fans as their van pulled up to the gym.

For close to an hour, the celebration continued inside.

"You don't really know from watching (the team) what they had to push through," said assistant coach Carey Carlson. "In that championship game, they were exhausted. We just pushed through, pushed through. The heart that they had was incredible."

To reach the final contest, NIC beat top-ranked Pensacola State College (Fla.) in the semifinals - a squad long on talent, speed and athleticism. The Cardinals stuck to their game plan and cut through Pensacola's smothering press.

"We never thought that they were faster than us, or better than us," head coach Chris Carlson said. "We said, as soon as we turn that corner, as soon as we get an edge on 'em, we're taking it to that rim."

North Idaho College, a fifth-seed, whipped No. 1 seed Pensacola 90-75.

"That's one of the greatest wins I've been a part of," Carlson said.

A former NIC player under legendary coach Rolly Williams, Bill Turbin of Hayden cheered on the Cardinals as they marched toward a national crown. The girls were always humble, Turbin said, and always willing to prepare for whatever challenges lay ahead.

"A real team effort. And I believe they were also blessed," he added. "It was amazing to see them pull it off."

Sophomore Kama Griffits, who scored 22 points in the final game against Trinity Valley, earned tournament MVP honors. Carlson, having just completed his seventh season at NIC, was named national coach of the year.

"I just think it's a good team effort to get an award like that," he said, passing much of the credit to his assistant coaches.

Carlson will soon be on the recruiting trail, but for now, with the weight of the NJCAA tournament finally lifted, he can savor that championship feeling - if only for a short while.

"It's just unbelievable. We've been driving all night, and you just have this moment, like, 'Oh my gosh, we did it,'" Carlson said. "The effort that it takes to actually get it done; it's like you're just spent. We can really start feeling it now. We actually did it."

Freshman forward Julia Salmio, a native of Vantaa, Finland, is excited about next season and continuing her career at NIC.

"So cool," she said of the title. "I have never had this kind of championship. And it's real nice that so many people support us, and came here today."

Edwards-Teasley won't be back next year - she'll most likely be playing for a Division I school. But Kiki ended her NIC career on a high note: 17 points against Trinity Valley, her final baskets as a Cardinal.

"I will miss it a lot. We all grew up playing against each other, and we've known each other since junior high," she said. "We really wanted this. We set our goal, and we're glad we achieved it."

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9 comments:

  • Hermes posted at 11:16 pm on Mon, Mar 28, 2011.

    Hermes Posts: 1
  • Elmore posted at 8:20 am on Thu, Mar 24, 2011.

    Elmore Posts: 5

    I love CDA and have always enjoyed watching Kama Griffits play basketball. I'm not from CDA, but had kids that played against her. If she is on a team, they will win.

    Now, I do personally know one of the players and I think it is important to note that she comes from a school and team where she and her family disrespected every single player, as well as the coaches, teachers, and just about every parent they came into contact with, as well as her roommate (and teammate) at NIC. If she had to volunteer to help the less fortunate in CDA, then it is only because she was forced to. Once again, good riddance to her, hope her whole family moves to Portland with her.

     
  • posted at 6:01 pm on Tue, Mar 22, 2011.

    Posts:

    Great Job Ladies, you make us all proud!

    For the single-minded commenters below... you make CDA a smaller place, and not in a good way.

     
  • cdafan posted at 6:38 am on Tue, Mar 22, 2011.

    cdafan Posts: 19

    Take Back- Once again you speak from the wrong orifice. You are a pathetic loser who more than likely got cut from a junior high team and can never let it go. Do you even know these women? Do you know the time and commitment they put in on the court and in the classroom? Do you know about the volunteer work they do and how great they are with young kids and the elderly? This was a tremendous feat that has never been accomplished by ANY women's team in their league and YOU want to criticize them. YOU are a cancer! Take Back needs to Take a Hike on the first bus out of this great city of ours.

     
  • Randy Myers posted at 2:31 pm on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    Great season, great tourney ! Especially gratifying is Kama Griffits of Cd'A High being so vital.

    Take....Triumph nailed you. Sorry you can't blight the women with your agenda.

    YAY CARDINALS!!!!!

     
  • local res posted at 1:57 pm on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

    local res Posts: 1157

    Take Back- when you move from Idaho will you take the NIC admin and trustees with you? We need to save some of the tax dollars we will be losing when you finally move.

     
  • Triumph posted at 12:02 pm on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

    Triumph Posts: 533

    Awesome job ladies!!!! Doing us proud!! Oh and Take Back. All travel for all the NIC sports teams is funded by the NIC Booster club which raises money via private donations. It's not paid for by the school budget!! It brings me great joy to tell you that!!!

     
  • 986crazy posted at 7:33 am on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

    986crazy Posts: 380

    Congrats ladies. I'm proud to be an NIC alum. :)

     
  • TakeBackTheUSA posted at 4:56 am on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

    TakeBackTheUSA Posts: 765

    $10M for a gravel parking lot, a juco sending sports teams all over the country to tournaments. If nothing else NIC knows how to waste money without a second thought. The current admin and trustees need to be packed into a tour bus and sent to New York.

     
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