The Eastern Florida State College women's basketball team made history Friday night, advancing to the FCSAA/NJCAA State Tournament Championship Game for the first time in school history.
The Titans defeated No. 7 Tallahassee 68-57 in the second semifinal at the College of Central Florida and will play No. 2 Gulf Coast State, who beat No. 18 Florida Southwestern 72-54 Friday.
"I am just so proud of my team," sophomore Victoria Morales said. "I can't explain how excited and proud I am of everybody. We all just stuck together, worked together and focused on the goal."
That goal was to continue playing and after a sluggish start that saw Tallahassee jump out to a 5-0 lead, Alexandrine Obouh Fegue and Mariah Batz got the Titans jump started as Eastern Florida State College would go on a 13-0 run in the next five minutes and lead 16-9 after the first quarter.
Angeni Worley found her range in the second quarter and the 'Splash Sisters' went into the locker room with four 3-pointers apiece, giving the Titans a 37-19 lead.
The lead would grow to 41-21 in the third quarter, but Tallahassee went on a run of their own and cut the lead down to eight with under four minutes left in the game.
Needing a basket, the Titans turned to Morales and the sophomore delivered, hitting a 3-pointer with 3:37 remaining to put the lead back to double digits.
"Vic has always had the arsenal on offense but she is such a humble and selfless player that she looks for her teammates more than her own shot. We told her we believed in her and that she can do it," Eastern Florida State College women's basketball coach MJ Baker said. "She hit some key shots down the stretch for us."
Down the stretch the Titans went 7-for-8 from the free throw line to secure the victory.
The win was the first against Tallahassee Community College as the Eagles had won the first seven meetings.
"This win is the first step for us in understanding that we can do anything if we come together as a team and believe in the hard work that we have been doing since Day 1 of the school year," Baker said. "These kids deserve this, they have worked hard all season for everything that they have and I am just so proud of them."
Batz finished with a team-high 15 points while Brianna Lewis had 14 points and eight assists. Worley had 13 points and Alexandrine Obouh Fegue finished with 12 points and a season-high 17 rebounds for her 13th double-double.
The Titans will play for their first state tournament championship Saturday night in Ocala. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be shown live on YouTube.