By Bailey Pennycuff / Co-Sports Editor
The 12th-ranked Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team faced Coffeyville on Wednesday night at the Sports Arena in a key early-season Jayhawk Conference matchup.
Early in the game, it was not looking good for the Blue Dragons.
The Red Ravens were up big the whole first half, and at halftime by 16 points. Although they continued to lead the whole third quarter, that is when Hutch began to cut the deficit.
The comeback didn’t stop there, as the Blue Dragons surged ahead in the fourth quarter and won 70-63.
“During halftime, (head coach John Ontjes) basically said we need to get everything together and start decreasing their lead. Slowly work at it. We can’t get all the points back in just one quarter,” freshman guard Kayhla Adams said.
Adams scored 16 points for the night, with 12 of those points being beyond the 3-point arc.
“Honestly, the only reason I did well with my 3s tonight was because of my teammates. They drove to the basket really well and were able to get me open for the shot,” Adams said.
A couple of factors played a large role in the Blue Dragon comeback.
“I think the bottom line was, we guarded better in the second half; we didn’t give them as many easy baskets. We also made more baskets ourselves,” Ontjes said.
In the fourth quarter, as the Blue Dragons were slowly closing the Red Raven’s lead, it was Tor’e Alford’s 3-point shot from the key that switched the lead, one that they would go on to never lose.
Although it was only the team’s second game, the comeback showed a lot of heart. This team refused to lose, and played it out til the final buzzer.
On the other hand, since it was only the second game, the team still has a lot of improving to do.
“This team has a long way to go,” Ontjes said. “We’ve got to become better defenders on the ball. Offensively we have to execute better. This team is missing a lot of practice, and for a team to be sharp and crisp, we need every practice we can get.”
What really hurt Coffeyville, was two things – fatigue, and missed free-throws.
Fatigue could have played a role in the missed free-throws, but it was a critical part of their loss.
Once fatigue hit the Red Ravens, they were turning the ball over twice as much as they were in the first half.
“Because they (Coffeyville) had gotten so fatigued, we got three big steals, and it really allowed us to gain momentum,” Ontjes said.
In the fourth quarter, the atmosphere intensified as tensions rose. With every call from the referee, each player seemed to accumulate more anger.
“I was definitely letting the refs dictate my game for a while, but thankfully, my teammates had my back and we came out with the dub,” Adams said.
Alford had 15 points for the night and sophomore forward Lojong Gore scored 12 points.