By Adam Kolb / Co-Sports Editor
The No. 14 Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team dropped an 88-68 Jayhawk Conference contest to the No. 8- ranked Red Ravens on Wednesday at the Sports Arena. Sophomore Matt Mayers had a second straight strong game for the Blue Dragons, leading the team with 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting. Majok Kuath finished with 12 points and four rebounds, while Bryant Selabanque had 11 points, and Isaiah Buddoso had 10 points and a career high eight assists.
Hutchinson shot 26 of 56 overall (46.4 percent) but made only 3 of 11 from 3-point range and 13 of 22 from the free throw line. The Blue Dragons committed 19 turnovers, but had a 36-33 rebounding advantage. Meanwhile, Coffeyville shot 45.5 percent overall, hitting 11 of 26 from 3-point range and 17 of 19 from the free throw line.
The Blue Dragons now lead the all-time series against Coffeyville 29-23, including 9-3 at the Sports Arena. Hutchinson falls to 1-1 and will next play Neosho County on Saturday at the Sports Arena.
Softball – The softball team is picked to finish third in the Jayhawk East championship race, according to the league’s annual coaches’ poll released on Tuesday. Coach Jaime Rose, in her 17th season, has nine players- six position and three pitchers- returning for the 2021 season, which opens on Feb. 10 against the Oklahoma Weslyan JV at Fun Valley. Sophomore shortstop Caitlin Schmacher has started all 66 games in her Blue Dragon career, and will bring a .271 career batting average into the new season. Catcher Lexi Williams hit .473 last season and had a single-season record 29 stolen bases.
Kylee Dunn and Bailey Pennycuff are returning outfielders for the Blue Dragons. Dunn hit .473 with 14 extra-base hits, including nine doubles. Pennycuff hit .444 with 23 runs scored and 23 RBIs. Pitcher Sadie Loney was 5-3 last season with a 4.46 ERA, and Jordan Gallliher finished with a 4.70 ERA and threw a perfect game in her first game as a Blue Dragon.
Butler is the preseason No. 1 pick in the Jayhawk East. Barton is second, followed by Hutchinson, Independence, and Pratt. Last season, Hutchinson was picked fourth in the league preseason coaches poll.
Baseball – For the third consecutive season, the baseball team is the preseason pick to win the Jayhawk West, according to the league’s annual coaches poll released on Tuesday. The 2020 Blue Dragons were 14-7 overall, and got off to a great start, winning 13 of its first 15 games. Jenner Steele and Tyler Delong are the top returners. Steele hit .376 with five home runs and 20 RBIs. Delong hit .340 with three homers and 12 RBIs. The lone starting pitcher returning is Zach Firmature, who was 2-2 with a 6.62 ERA.
The Blue Dragons open the 2021 season next Tuesday at Northern Oklahoma-Enid. Volleyball – Coach Delice Downing had her long-awaited Blue Dragon debut on Monday night but Hutchinson saw a 38-match winning streak against Garden City snapped. The last Broncbuster win over the Blue Dragons came in Garden City on Sept. 14, 2001. Garden City also prevented the Blue Dragons from collecting all-time program victory No. 1,100. Sophomore Jenna Thorne and freshman Shadee Briggs both had double doubles in their first matches of the season. Thorne had a team-high 10 kills and a career-best 21 digs to lead the Blue Dragons. She also had two service aces. Briggs finished with 11 kills, 10 digs and one ace ser