Lady Raiders beat Gulf Coast in OT for first state title since 1996
The rafters at Raider Arena are filled with banners spanning several sports and decades, but a void was filled on Saturday.
For the first time since 1996, the Northwest Florida women's basketball team was crowned state champion.
Hosting the FCSAA state tournament for the first time, the Lady Raiders beat Gulf Coast 57-55 in overtime.
Ra'Shara Simmons forced OT for GCSC with one second left, but Reneasha Payton sunk the game winner for NWFSC with two seconds left in extra time.
Rayven Peeples led the Lady Raiders with 24 points and 8 rebounds. Payton added 10 points and 8 boards.
Ahlana Smith topped the Lady Commodores stat sheet with 19 points and 9 rebounds, followed by Tatiana Jones' 12 points and 8 boards.
No. 5 Northwest Florida is guaranteed a berth in the national tournament.
No. 6 Gulf Coast is virtually assured an at large bid.