SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — It’s not always where one starts, but where one finishes that matters. Northwest Missouri State senior D’Vante Mosby’s journey to Northwest started at William Jewell College, but took him to the top of the NCAA Division II basketball world.

Mosby played two seasons with the Cardinals, becoming a freshman of the year and earning All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors before transferring to Northwest, wanting a bigger challenge.

That challenge was validated on Saturday on the floor of Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s Pentagon. The Bearcats took down Fairmont State 71-61.

“I don’t know how it could get any better,” Mosby said following the contest. “I’m so blessed to think about where I’ve come from. Even before this game. It’s awesome to win it, but I knew when I came here that I was a part of something special — national championship or not.”

The only thing that likely made it better was having his mother in attendance, as she has been all season.

Mosby’s mom — Menime — had breast cancer during his time at Fort Osage High School and for his two years at William Jewell.

By the time he transferred to Northwest, she had kicked the disease.

“My mom is my biggest fan, and I’m her biggest fan,” he said. “She loves me unconditionally. She’s the sweetest lady whether I win a national championship or not, or how much I score. I love that lady to death.”

Still, at the hands of Northwest head coach Ben McCollum of all people, it almost didn’t happen.

“When he came to visit, I told him that we were going to redshirt him, and that he was behind all these guys,” he said. “I told him that this is a competitive place and that maybe he should go somewhere else. I was pretty much trying to convince him not to come. I was seeing if he was unselfish enough to come, and he chose us.”

Late in during the national championship run, particularly in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament and the Central Regional Tournament, which Northwest hosted, Mosby starting to write his ending.

He grabbed key offensive rebound after key offensive rebound, continually breathing life into the Bearcats when the support threatened to be cut off completely.

Mosby, a Fort Osage product, continued to give them a heartbeat.

His effort wasn’t lost on his teammates.

“He was that juice we need on the court,” fellow senior Anthony Woods said. “D’Vante goes hard to the glass. He’s hard to box out in practice too. It’s a blessing to have him on our team.”

Mosby leaves his senior season averaging eight points, four rebounds, and just over a steal per game.

In the championship game he scored six points and three rebounds.