DODGE CITY — George Brock shot down the Cloud County Thunderbirds’ chances of opening the Jayhawk Conference Western Division season with a win on the road.
Brock rattled in a long, contested three-point attempt as time ran out to give the Dodge City Conquistadors an 81-78 Jayhawk West win over Cloud County Saturday night.
Cloud County had fought back from three points down to tie the game when Lorenzo Dillard hit two free throws with 4.4 seconds on the clock.
Dodge City got the ball into Brock’s hands, and his three-point heave rattled out, hit the backboard and then dropped to give the Conquistadors the victory.
“It is tough when you feel like you had an opportunity and it doesn’t go your way,” Cloud County coach Chad Eshbaugh said.
Cloud County, now 8-9 overall and 0-1 in conference play, led the game 34-24 at halftime.
The Conquistadors, 12-5 overall and 1-0 in the Jayhawk West, opened the second half with a 19-6 run.
Trailing by six points, the T-Birds fought back to tie the game at 67-67.
It was 74-74 when E.J. Eaves completed a three-point play with 23.5 seconds remaining to put Dodge City on top 77-74.
A layup by Marvin Smith with eight seconds on the clock got Cloud County within a point, 77-76.
The T-Birds quickly fouled Brock, and he made one of two free throws to give Dodge City a 78-76 lead.
Dillard drew a quick foul, and made both free throws to tie the game at 78-78.
That set the stage for Brock’s late game heroics.
“A contested 35 or 40 footer,” Eshbaugh said.
Dillard led Cloud County with 19 points. He was 5 of 21 from the field and 9 of 12 from the free throw line.
Shaun Stewart scored 16 points for the T-Birds.
Smith and Emeka Okoronkwo chipped in 12 points each.
Creighton Brinker had 16 rebounds to go with seven points.
The T-Birds were 28 of 73 from the field for 38 percent and 20 of 30 from the free throw line for 67 percent.
Brock led five Conquistadors in double figures with 16 points.
Eaves added 15 points.
Dodge City got 13 points from Larry Beckett, 12 from Ameer Jackson and 10 each from Jelani Carpenter and Brett O’Neil.
The Conquistadors were 24 of 59 from the floor for 41 percent and 23 of 40 from the line for 58 percent. They made 10 of 17 three-point attempts for 59 percent.
“We had a tough time keeping them off the line,” Eshbaugh said
Dodge City hit 16 of 28 free throws in the second half.
“They shot 28 free throws in the second half. We really could not get much of a rhythm going,” Eshbaugh said.
Cloud County bolted to a 14-3 lead to start the game.
With Dodge City shooting just 21 percent from the field, the T-Bird opened up the 10-point halftime lead.
Dodge City used the big run to start the second half, and then the two teams went back and forth before Brock knocked down the game winner.
Cloud County plays at Pratt on Wednesday night before hosting Barton County on Saturday night.