EVANSVILLE, IN (WTRF)–West Liberty heads to the NCAA Division II National Championship after defeating No. 21 ranked Black Hills State in the semifinals.  

This is the first time since 2014 that the Hilltoppers will take the court in the title game.  

The Toppers came out blazing and secured a 16-point lead in the first half.  

After the break Chaz Hinds fouled out and Byrce Butler left the game due to an injury.  

Allowing the Yellow Jackets to get within just points of West Liberty.  

I was thinking ‘oh crap’. I was getting pretty worried to be honest with you. Bryce can solve a lot of problems. He can solve a lot of problems with him just being out on the floor so. Ben Sarson fouled out. Chaz Hinds fouled out and Fin Woodward is a true freshman. So, we put a true freshman on the Division two National Player of the Year, I’m going to worry a little bit, but I thought he fought. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but I thought he gave us great minutes.

Ben Howlett, West Liberty head coach

It’s just tough as a competitor you know you want to be out there, but I had full confidence in my guys to be able to pull this through, but it was tough. I wanted to be out there.

Chaz Hinds, West Liberty Forward

At halftime we knew they were going to make a big run and they did. I’m just glad we stayed composed. I’m really happy about this win tonight.

Steve Cannady, West Liberty Guard

A team from the Atlantic region hasn’t claimed the title since 2007. 

The Hilltoppers punch their ticket to the national championship where they will battle former West Liberty legend Jim Crutchfield and the Nova Southeastern Sharks on Saturday at 3 p.m. EDT.