OVERLAND PARK, Kansas - Taking on the top-ranked and top-seeded Parkland College Cobras in the NJCAA national semifinals Friday, Monroe Community College knew that it would take a near-flawless effort to come away with a win.
Though the Tribunes rallied from an early deficit to take a second-half lead, some untimely cold shooting down the stretch was the team's undoing in a 78-62 defeat.
MCC (28-2) will play Owens CC at 6 p.m. Eastern on Saturday in the third/fourth place game.
Parkland (35-1) advances to the NJCAA title game, where the Cobras will battle host Johnson County Community College Saturday night.
Trailing by nine at the break, MCC hopped on the back of Adre'onia Coleman. The freshman forward scored 11 of the team's first 13 points as the Tribunes rallied to trim the deficit to two at 47-45.
A driving layup from Tyese Purvis followed to tie the game and prompted a Parkland timeout.
Monroe then took its first lead with 11:33 left as Kiki Bynes got to the hoop and scored. The Cobras responded with a 3-pointer before Coleman drained another jumper to push MCC back ahead, 51-50, with 10:29 remaining.
That was the last lead the Tribunes would hold, however. Parkland came back with a 14-5 run, capped by two back-breaking 3's from Laura Litchfield, to reclaim control.
MCC went cold from there on out, and the Cobras clinched a trip to the finals.
The game was tight early in the first half as the teams traded baskets. The score was tied at 18 with 10:17 left before Parkland embarked on a 16-2 run to open a double-digit lead.
The Tribunes were able to cut the lead back to nine at the break on the strength of a 3-point play from Bailey Hixson, as well as baskets from Bynes and Coleman.
Coleman finished off another monster game with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Bynes also hit double figures with 14 points, while Purvis and Rose Ayala added eight apiece.
The Tribunes were 24-for-73 from the floor (33 percent) and hit just four of 23 attempts from beyond the arc. Conversely, Parkland was 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3.