KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s basketball dynasty continues in Maryville.
On Sunday, Northwest Missouri State won its seventh MIAA tournament title in eight years with a 61-53 win over Central Oklahoma.
The Bearcats’ leading scorer was true freshman Bennett Stirtz who had 20 points and never left the floor.
The Liberty alum was named Player of the Game for his efforts which included five rebounds and only missing one of his eight shots which included two three-pointers.
Northwest is the two-time defending national champions and has won four national championships in the past ten years.
Stirtz said he was glad to have one of his best games of the year in his hometown and he doesn’t feel the pressure of playing such a big role in such a historic program.
“There’s a lot of pressure coming into this program but you don’t really feel it,” Stirtz said. “We have the best fans in the nation in (Division II) and they brought today and hats off to them.”
The MIAA Freshman of the Year averaged 12 points a game while shooting 59% from the field and 43% from three while adding 61 steals on defense.
The Bearcats also boast MIAA Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Diego Bernard and MIAA second teamer Wes Dreamer to close out their Big 3.
NWMSU is a number one seed in the Central Region of the Divison II playoffs which means they will host all regional games in Maryville.