By Adam Kolb
Co-Sports Editor

The Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team took down Kilgore 95-86 on Monday morning in the first round of the NJCAA Tournament at the Sports Arena.

Kilgore got off to a quick start and led the Blue Dragons early 10-4. The game was tight throughout the first half, and the Blue Dragons went into halftime with a 39-38 advantage. Isaiah Bujdoso and Bryant Selebangue led the Blue Dragons with nine points each in the first 20 minutes of play.

For Kilgore, they finished with two players in double figures in the first half, Da’Sean Nelson with 13 points and KJ Jenkins with 10. 

The second half is where things started to change for  Hutch. They outscored the Rangers 56-48, and at one point held a 15-point lead. The rebounding numbers were in favor of the Blue Dragons, as they outrebounded the Rangers 40-29. Hutchinson also shot a solid 87.1 percent from the line (27-31), meanwhile Kilgore shot 73.9 percent (17-23). The Blue Dragons spread the scoring around, having six different players score in double digits. Jaden Okon led the team in scoring with 16 points, and grabbed five offensive rebounds as well. Josh Baker finished with 15 points and was a perfect 8-8 from the free-throw line. Majok Kuath, Stephan Gabriel and Isaiah Budjoso each had 12 points, and Chris Robinson finished with 11 points. 

KJ Jenkins had a game-high 34 points for the Rangers in 34 minutes. Da’Sean Nelson also dropped in 29 points. Jenkins and Nelson were the only double-digit scorers for Kilgore.

Blue Dragons coach Steve Eck will coach at least one more game for the Blue Dragons, as Hutchinson will play its next game against Mineral Area at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at the Sports Arena. Eck is retiring from HutchCC when Hutchinson’s run ends, and he will become the head boys basketball coach at Kapaun Mount Carmel in Wichita.

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