It didn’t take long for the Cloud County Thunderbirds to knock off the rust.
Off since a win over Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa back on Dec. 9, Cloud County scored just two points in the first 3:25 of their Jayhawk Conference Western Division opener against Colby.
Settling in on both ends of the floor following the slow start, the T-Birds doubled up the Trojans 74-37 Saturday night in Bryant Gymnasium.
Cloud County, with the game tied at 2-2, tossed in 12 straight points to go up 14-2, and was never threatened after that.
“It didn’t look like we had been off for a month, and that is what I liked,” Cloud County coach Brett Erkenbrack said, “It is good to start the Conference season off with a win.”
The T-Birds have won five straight games to improve to 11-4 overall.
Colby falls to 6-9.
The two teams traded baskets in the first 1:20, but then neither team scored for 3:05.
Starting with a basket by Pearlrae Thomas, the T-Birds scored 12 points in 2:43 to go up 14-2.
Thomas scored six of those points, and Ajai Ford matched her with a pair of three-point shots.
“I was really pleased with Ajai Ford,” Erkenbrack said.
It was a 20-8 game when Ford scored on a drive to start a 16-0 Cloud County run that extended the lead to 36-8.
Thomas hit six straight free throws during that stretch, and scored 14 of her team high 16 points in the first half. She also had seven rebounds.
“She was active, and when Pearl is active and aggressive she is going to score and make things happen,” Erkenbrack said.
Colby ended the run when Shantydra Arnold made two free throws with just 2:52 to play in the first half.
Desiree Jones went one of two from the line for the Trojans.
Aleesha Coulter connected on a three and Paige Champlin made a layup to put Cloud County up 41-11.
Colby hit three of four free throws in the final 44 seconds of the half, and trailed 41-14.
The Trojans scored four points in the first 54 seconds of the second half to make it a 41-18 game.
Five different Cloud County players scored during a 14-0 spurt that boosted the lead to 55-18.
Colby went nearly six minutes without scoring before Ashlon Gains made a three.
The T-Birds would lead by as many as 40 points on their way to the 37-point win.
“We had a very good week of practice. I was expecting us to play well, and for the most part I thought we did,” Erkenbrack said, “I think we are better than we were first semester.”
Thomas led four T-Birds in double figures.
Jordyn Alexander scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds for Cloud County.
Coulter finished with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Champlin added 10 points and nine boards.
Cloud County hit 25 of 58 field goal attempts for 43 percent and 20 of 26 free throws for 77 percent.
Arnold paced Colby with 15 points.
The Trojans shot just 22 percent (12 of 55) from the floor and made 11 of 17 free throws for 65 percent.
Cloud County had just one day off before traveling to Pratt for a Conference game tonight.