By Colin Shields
The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team used big second halves from Mya Williams and Mele Kailahi to defeat the Dodge City Conquistadors 72-52 on Tuesday at the Sports Arena in the Region 6 quarterfinals.
After winning by only three at Dodge City three weeks ago, Blue Dragons coach John Ontjes was able to coach the Blue Dragons to a blowout win.
“Dodge City is a tough place to play, Dodge has a team that is very veteran and they have a high IQ defensively,” Ontjes said. “They are very long and caused some matchup problems for us, but we made the right plays. In the third quarter, we made baskets, we executed offensively, we did a better job defensively, they dominated the boards, but at least in the third quarter we did a better job of not allowing second-chance points.”
Going into halftime, Dodge City’s Jenna Rose Mafua led all players with 11 points. She didn’t score again.
“We did a better job of defending their ball screen action and trying to make them not be able to use the ball screen action,” Ontjes said. “They’re very intelligent and patient with their offense, and we did a better job of keeping the ball out of the middle of the paint.”
Williams, Kailahi, Tor’e Alford, and Kali Howard all scored in double figures.
“That’s what it’s going to take for us to be able to advance in the playoffs, you can’t afford to have a bad game,” Ontjes said. “If you have a bad game, you’re going to be done for the season. I think all our kids understand we’re going to have to play at a higher level and execute while playing the best basketball we played all year long for the rest of the way out.”
The defense also played a big part in the win as Alford drew two offensive charges and the Blue Dragons forced multiple shot clock violations throughout.
With the win, the Blue Dragons advanced to the semifinal round of the Region 6 playoffs and will face Seward County at Tony’s Pizza Event Center, at 5 p.m. Friday in Salina.
It has been a tough matchup all year round as Hutchinson is 0-2 vs. Seward County on the year with the last game being a close loss at home, snapping the Dragons’ 20-game home winning streak.
“We’ll definitely study the prior two games we’ve had with them and see where we can do a better job of attacking them offensively,” Ontjes said. “They’re a great ball club, they’ve given us fits in the two games we’ve played them and hopefully our kids are really motivated to face them.”