PORT HURON — The Muskegon Community College women’s basketball team struggled to capitalize in taking fifth place at the NJCAA national tournament on Friday.

The Jayhawks let go of an early lead in its 60-52 loss to North Central Missouri in the fifth place game at the at St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron.

Despite failing to reach their goal of making the finals, the Jayhawks still came away with some positives from the week’s competition.

The Jayhawks knocked off the fourth seed in the first round, which gives them a building block with this being their second year at the national level.

“We performed better in the tournament this year than last year,” said Jayhawks head coach Jason Cooper. “We were proud to be one of only two NJCAA colleges in the tournament representing Michigan.

“I’m very proud of this team. We will reflect on our great season I’m sure after the sting goes away from the loss.”

Friday night the Jayhawks ended the first quarter with a 14-10 lead. But, they struggled offensively in the second, were outscored, 16-6 and went into the half with a 26-20 deficit.

The Jayhawks quickly regained the lead after coming out of break, but it didn’t last long as they were outscored, 21-14 in the third period to trail by 13, 47-34 going into the fourth.

Although they outscored the Pirates by five, 18-13 in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t enough.

Julia Tierman (Mona Shores) led the Jayhawks with 15 points, four assists and four rebounds. Karleigh Jeffries (Whitehall) contributed 10 points and had three rebounds.

Mariah Pringle (Brethren) added nine points, grabbed seven rebounds and had three assists. Calla Miller (Fremont) had nine points and 10 rebounds.

Trina Lewis (Reeths-Puffer) had 10 rebounds to go with two points. Suzan Sisman (Marselisborg) scored five points and had two rebounds, while Sydney Bol (Fruitport) finished with two points, three rebounds and two steals.

The Jayhawks finished the season 25-6).