GREAT BEND — Newcomers Agnese Aramina and Courtney Fisher combined for 47 points to lead the Cloud County Thunderbirds to a 111-57 romp over McCook Community College in the opening round of the Highland Hotel/Pizza Hut Classic Friday afternoon.
Aramina, a 6-1 sophomore transfer from Colby Community College, hit 8 of 12 field goal attempts, including five of six three, and three of four free throws to finish with 24 points.
Fisher, a 5-10 sophomore who transferred to Cloud County from Mineral Area College, was 9 of 14 from the field and five of eight from the line in scoring 23 points. She also had six rebounds and five steals.
Cloud County also got 15 points and eight rebounds from sophomore Jordyn Alexander in the lopsided win.
Sophomore Raneisha Duncan and freshman Kimi Lindshield scored 11 points each for the T-Birds.
“I can’t imagine we have played any better in a season opener than we did,” Cloud County coach Brett Erkenbrack said, “Courtney Fisher was outstanding. Agnese Aramina was outstanding. “We got good production from everybody who came off the bench.”
Host Barton County Community College got past 17th-ranked Arizona Western 78-74 in overtime in the other game played Friday.
McCook got a three-point basket by Myranda Fischer and a jumper by Ashle Stokes to score the first five points against Cloud County.
A three by Aramina and a basket by Jayna Smith pulled the T-Birds even at 5-5.
There would be two ties and three lead changes over the next three minutes.
The game was tied at 9-9 when Alexander hit two free throws to start an 11- run by Cloud County that made it 20-9 when Aramina hit a three with 12:58 to play in the first half.
McCook would battle back to within three points, 22-19.
“They are not a bad team,” Erkenbrack said, “I thought, quite honestly, a large part of the first half we weren’t rewarded for how well we were playing. They hit some tough shots to stay in the game.”
Leading just 42-36, the T-Birds got two free throws by Jayna Smith and a three-point play by Fisher to go on top by 11 points.
Briana LaChapelle made one of two free throws for McCook, and it was 47-37 with 1:35 to play in the half.
In the final 1:28, Cloud County got two free throws by Linda Pagrode, a basket by Fisher, a three by Aramina, two free throws by Aramina and then a jumper by Fisher with two seconds on the clock, and led 57-37 at halftime.
“We made a nice run at the end of the first half to blow it open and then continued on in the second half,” Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County outscored McCook 29-12 over the first 11 minutes of the second half to stretch the lead to 86-49, and coasted to the big win.
Erkenbrack was able to get all 14 players involved, and 13 of them scored.
Smith had eight points, seven rebounds and eight assists for the T-Birds.
Pagrode finished with seven points and eight assists.
Cloud County hit 38 of 68 field goal attempts, including 9 of 17 threes, for 56 percent and 26 of 30 free throws for 87 percent.
The T-Birds had a 53-23 rebounding advantage.
“I thought we played really crisp. We passed the ball well, ran the floor and shot the ball extremely well,” Erkenbrack said, “If we could carry that over and build off of that, we should have a really fun season.”
Cydnee Ceballos led McCook with 23 points.
Ashle Stokes scored 10 points for McCook.
McCook was 24 of 67 from the floor for 36 percent and 6 of 11 from the line for 55 percent.