KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lewis-Clark State entered the NAIA Division I Tournament as one of the nation’s hottest teams.
The Warriors won 11 straight games entering Kansas City.
But their most recent could have been the biggest yet on Saturday.
Lewis-Clark State upset top-seeded LSU Alexandria 80-74 to make its first semifinal in school history.
The win set up another meeting with Frontier Conference rival Carroll College after the Saints defeated Pikeville of Kentucky.
“It feels better than you would think,” Warriors coach Austin Johnson said. “It feels awesome. I’m just super happy for the guys.”
The Warriors didn’t waste any time getting a spark from center Trystan Bradley as he scored nine points to take a 11-5 lead.
LSU Alexandria come back two get within a basket with 7:32 remaining in the first half and even took the lead when Devin Jackson hit a 3-pointer.
Lewis-Clark State regained the lead when Bradley scored two baskets and entered the locker room with a 33-32 lead.
“Players win games, not coaches,” Johnson said. “Our players have been rock solid all year.”
The Warriors broke the game wide open in the second half when they started on a 10-2 run.
LSU Alexandria brought their deficit within four points with about seven minutes left but that was as close as they were going to get.
While Bradley led the Warriors with 15 points, Josiah Westbrook added 14 points off the bench while Cordel Hankerson finished with 13 points.
“Everyone was a supporting cast,” Johnson said. “We preach unselfishness and it showed.”
It will be the fifth time this season Carroll and Lewis-Clark State will meet when they clash at 7 p.m. on Monday night.
“We could just have the Fab Four in Helena or Lewiston,” Johnson said. “It just shows how good our league is and shows how battle tested the league is.”