The University of Scranton women and Williams College men escaped close calls to survive and advance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Tournaments with victories Friday night.
Those victories kept alive national title hopes of four JB Hoops alums, who moved within one win of the Final Four and three wins of a title.
Bridgette Mann and Emily Sheehan are decorated all-stars at Scranton where Erin Worzel is a freshman reserve.
Bobby Casey is an all-star and the leading scorer at Williams.
Scranton overcame an 11-point deficit and took advantage of two missed throws by Christopher Newport in the final two seconds to win, 57-56.
The ninth-ranked Lady Royals remain at the John Long Center to play fourth-ranked Tufts tonight at 6. Both teams are 28-2.
Mann assisted Makenzie Mason’s basket to break a 52-52 tie and put Scranton ahead to stay. She then made a 3-pointer for a 57-52 lead with 2:06 left.
The senior guard from Wallenpaupack finished with 18 points. Mann, who went 4-for-9 on 3-pointers, also had five assists.
Sheehan, a junior from Dunmore, battled foul trouble and finished with two points, two rebounds and two assists.
Mann, a former Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year, was a first-team, all-star this season. She has returned from an extended injury absence to average 15 points over the past four playoff games.
Sheehan, the Landmark Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team all-star, averages 9.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
Worzel, a forward from Wallenpaupack, has made 18 appearances, including one in the postseason, in her first season.
Williams College overcame 29 turnovers and a late rally by the nation’s second-ranked team to hang on and defeat Whitman College, 84-81, in a men’s game at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y.
Casey had 11 points and a team-high 6 assists in the win.
The senior guard is a first-team New England Small College Athletic Conference all-star who leads the Ephs with 18.2 points and 4.4 assists per game.
Another JB Hoops player had her season come to an end in yet another tight game in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Morgan Birmelin, a senior guard from Honesdale, was part of the DeSales University team that lost 76-75 in Brunswick, Maine on a basket by Ithaca College’s Annie Giannone with six seconds left.
Birmelin was regular-season Player of the Year and tournament Most Valuable Player in the Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom this season.