FRANKFORT — No drama about which teams from the Mid-South Conference would qualify for the NAIA national basketball tourneys.
All four teams in Sunday's finals at the Frankfort Convention Center already had clinched berths.
The Georgetown men and Campbellsville women won their way in with regular-season titles in a 10-team league. The second-seeded St. Catharine men and Shawnee State women were in as the other top teams left in the conference.
Action was anything but blasé, though, as Georgetown's men rallied from 15 points down to edge St. Catharine 79-75 and Campbellsville's women came from behind for a 72-58 victory.
Georgetown 79, St. Catharine 75: The eighth-ranked Tigers scored the first eight points of the game, only to see the Patriots surge to a 38-23 lead late in the first half. St. Catharine led 41-31 at halftime.
Georgetown (29-4), who defeated the Patriots for the fourth time this season, used another 8-0 start as part of a 21-2 run to open the second half for a 52-43 lead. St. Catharine went more than seven minutes without a field goal.
"We took them out of transition and we finally stepped in front, and we finally acted like we might have practiced guarding a dribble handoff," Tigers Coach Happy Osborne said. "We were horrible the first half. ... We finally got them off the glass a little bit."
Tyrone Shelley led the winners with 19 points, one more than Maurice Pearson's total.
"Hard work and dedication," made the difference, Shelley said. "Coach preached it all year. First half, they came out aggressive and they killed us on defensive rebounds, offensive rebounds."
Vic Moses had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Eddie Gray added 13 points as Georgetown won its second MSC tournament in a row and fourth title in five years.
"It means a lot," Moses said. "We did it last year and we just wanted to come back and do it again. It's a great feeling."
Antoine Watson led No. 18 St. Catharine (22-8) with 17 points. Xavier Keeling, Kashiff Carr and Brandon Johnson scored 11 each. Keeling also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Georgetown took its biggest lead, 60-49, on Shelley's free throw with 10:29 left.
St. Catharine came back to tie at 73 when Keeling made one of two free throws with 1:10 left.
Georgetown outscored the Patriots 6-2 in the final 45 seconds, all six points coming on free throws. Gray, the conference's leading free-throw shooter at 88.3 percent, went 4-for-4 down the stretch and 8-for-9 overall. Shelley went 2-for-2 with 29.9 seconds left and 7-for-8 in the game. "I dream for those moments," Gray said.
He said Georgetown's second-half defense "was good enough. But we've just got to step it up a notch. It's tournament time now, baby."
The NAIA Tournament will run March 16-22 at Kansas City, Mo.
"Now we've got to go back to 0-and-0, and we've got work to do," Osborne said. "All of this is nice (but) this is not what we worked for."
Campbellsville 72, Shawnee St. 58: Campbellsville used a 15-0 run to rally in the last seven minutes.
"Oh, we wanted it more than anything," said Whitney Ballinger, the reigning National Player of the Year. "It's a great comfort to me. It's awesome to be regular-season champs but, to win the tournament, it's four hard days. You're fighting every day. It's just a battle and you just want to finish on top."
The Tigers, in the finals for the third year in a row, won for the first time since 2004.
Ranked No. 4 nationally, they will take a 28-3 record and a 13-game winning streak into their 19th national tournament, March 16-22 at Jackson, Tenn.
Ballinger, a 6-foot-3 senior from Carrollton, totaled 28 points, five rebounds and three blocks. She surpassed 2,000 career points when she converted a three-point play in the first half. She is the first Campbellsville player to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocks in a career.
Melly Heaton added 13 points for the winners. Courtney Clifton and Megan Isaacs scored 10 each with Isaacs also grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out four assists.
"We have six seniors," Coach Ginger Colvin said, "so the fact that we've been here for three years and weren't able to get the title — last year, our only conference loss was in the finals — they wanted it. ... We battled defensively and just did a great job down the stretch. Of course, when you have the national player of the year, it helps."
The seniors have a school-record win total for a class, now standing at 106-26.
Jill Cropper led Shawnee with 12 points and six rebounds. Catrice Mitchell had 10 points and seven boards before fouling out.
Shawnee (24-9) led 54-50 when Alex Pohl scored from close range with 7:15 left.
Campbellsville answered the alarm with a 15-0 flurry. Ballinger scored the last eight points, all on powerful moves in the low post, to put the Tigers on top 65-54 with 1:56 left.
"It's amazing," Ballinger said. "We've been here three years in a row and we know what it feels like to be in that other locker room. ... We're going to enjoy this one."