"I knew coming in after not playing Saturday we would probably be a little rusty having never played in this gym before," NMCC head coach David Crockett said. "We weathered that storm when Twin Rivers came out and shot really well.
"The girls just kept their composure. That's the sign of good team and we were able to come out of here with a win."
Coming out of the gate launching three's, Taylor Galloway connected on three shots from behind the arc in the first quarter as the Lady Royals scored eight-straight points to start the game on an 11-3 run.
Trailing 16-9 just four minutes into the contest, the Eagles finally found their footing with back-to-back baskets from Benesha Childress and Karen McGloson. McGloson finished the frame with 10 points and Childress eight as NMCC rebounded to close within a point of Twin Rivers, at 25-24 entering the second.
After allowing 25 points in the first quarter, however, the Lady Eagles defense amped up the pressure and allowed only 25 points combined over the next three quarters as NMCC rolled to a turbo-clocked fourth.
Taking their first lead of the night the Lady Eagles opened the final eight minutes of the half by forcing a turnover on the inbound pass to open the quarter. Rashaunda Summers went in a for layup to give NMCC a lead they would never surrender just 10 seconds into the frame.
Starting with Summers layup, the Lady Eagles went on an 8-0 run before ending the half up 46-33 with Childress and McGloson contributing six points each to NMCC's cause in the frame.
"It just came down to conditioning and moving our feet," Crockett said of his team's surge. "We quit slapping, reaching and stuff and we started moving our feet and making them score over top of us.
"We gave them one shot and quit giving them extra opportunities to score. Then when we got on the other end, we got the ball inside and we scored. That's our game plan."
The deciding blow against the Lady Royals came when NMCC held them scoreless the first four minutes of the second half while scoring 13 straight to start the frame.
That run gave the Lady Eagles a comfortable 59-33 lead with 3:48 to play in the quarter. with NMCC pushing ahead to take a 30-point advantage on three straight buckets by Childress in the final three minutes of the frame.
Despite opening the frame with three fouls, Childress continued to attacked the rim and finished the quarter with 12 points as the Lady Eagles shot 10 of 17 (59 percent) in the third frame.
"I don't know if it was fatigue, we were just overwhelmed or a lack of focus," Twin Rivers head coach Kelly Null said of her team's letdown. "It's just mentally we got weak, which made us slower and not able pass as strong, not able to rebound, not able to finish shots.
"It just brought us down. Our mental weakness brought us down physically."
For the second straight game the Lady Royals were without one of their top players Tori Cole, who is nursing a high ankle sprain. Cole leads the Lady Royals in blocked shots and rebounds while also serving as one of their leading scorers.
While acknowledging that the absence of Cole, who is nursing a high ankle sprain, had an impact, Null wouldn't use that as an excuse for a her team's second quarter drop off.
"We miss her and we wanted her around," Null said. "But I think everybody was focused to take the challenge and hit it head on. It just is what it is.
"It's not like you can do anything to change it and we were capable of fighting them a little harder."
Leading Twin Rivers on the night, Hannah Sadler had 12 points while Taylor Galloway and Sydni Hester had 11 and 10 points respectively.
For the Lady Eagles, Childress finished with a game-high 26 points on the night with McGloson following close behind with 24. Summer added 15 to NMCC's cause and Amirah Ruff 8.
"I can't say enough about those girls in the locker room," Crockett said. "They played their hearts our for me and that's what I ask of them every night. Go out and play hard, stay with the game plan and let's let good things happen."
With the win the Lady Eagles will take on the surprising Doniphan Donnettes in the title game on Friday at 6 p.m.
"We've never been in the championship of the districts since I've been here," Crockett said. "We've made it to the semifinals three out of my five years. We look forward to the opportunity to play (Doniphan) and the challenge. We have to come ready to play Friday."
NMCC (79) -- Dallas Campbell 5, Amirah Ruff 8, Whitney Williams 1, Benesha Childress 26, Karen McGloson 24, Rashaunda Summers 15. FG 36, FT 4-12, F 18. (3-pointers: Campbell 1, Summers 2. Fouled out: none.)
TWIN RIVERS (50) -- Daniale Franklin 2, Taylor Galloway 11, Sydni Hester 10, Mallory Guess 2, Lexi Stockton 7, Hannah Sadler 12. FG 20, FT 7-23, F 8. (3-pointers: Galloway 3. Fouled out: none.)
The fifth-seeded Doniphan Donnettes shocked top-seeded Kennett in the Class 3, District 1 semifinals on Tuesday by pulling out a 37-36 win over the Lady Indians.
The win was the second upset in a row for the Donnettes after opening the tournament with a win over fourth-seeded Charleston.
"I think it's a credit to their determination," Doniphan head coach Erika Smith said of her team. "I don't know where it came from. I knew we could play like this. We played like that all summer and it just hasn't been there all season. There determination right now is great."
Trailing by one in the waning minutes of the contest, the Donnettes took the lead for good when Megan Hipps went to the line with 1:14 to play and connected on a pair of free throws.
Unable to get a look they were happy with Kennett came down the court and called a pair of timeouts before launching an unsuccessful 3-pointer with 29 seconds remaining.
Though they were able to control the rebound, the Donnettes drew a charge before giving possession right back up on a jump ball situation with 15 seconds on the clock.
The Lady Indians were able to put up two more 3-point attempts, including one at the buzzer, only to see both fall short.
"I told them in one of our timeouts your defense will win this game right here," Smith said. "We didn't get that rebound with 15 seconds and it scared me to death, but they kept battle battling. That charge at the end, that was huge, and I think that gave us the momentum right there to keep battling."
Hipps and Raven Sturgeon had 13 and 11 points respectively for Doniphan while Audrey Wynne led the Lady Indians with 21 points.
KENNETT (36) -- Alexandria Washburn 5, Anna Hilburn 5, Lara Abmeyer 1, Audrey Wynne 21, Darby Sparks 4. FG 14, FT 6-17, F 20. (3-pointers: Washburn 1, Hilburn 1. Fouled out: none.)
DONIPHAN (37) -- Carrie Rogers 6, Megan Hipps 13, Raven Sturgeon 11, Emily Stonecipher 4, Sinora MohrMann 2, Halle McCaffey 1. FG 15-26, F 14. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none.)