LIBERAL — Sitting alone in second place in the Jayhawk Conference Western Division, just a game behind first-place Hutchinson, the Cloud County Thunderbirds could control their own destiny.
That has now changed somewhat with the T-Birds’ 54-47 Conference loss to the Seward County Saints on Monday night.
Cloud County, 18-7 overall, drops to 8-3 and fourth place in the Jayhawk West with the loss.
Hutchinson remains in first place at 10-1. Seward County (18-7) and Garden City are 9-3.
“We just did not put forth a good effort,” Cloud County coach Brett Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County shot just 28.6 percent (18 of 63) from the field and committed 28 turnovers in the game.
“I don’t know how we can expect to win shooting 28 percent from the field and turning it over 28 times,” Erkenbrack said.
Despite making just 9 of 36 field goal attempts for 25 percent, and one of seven free throws, the T-Birds kept the game close in the first half.
Seward County had a 25-21 lead at halftime, and shot just 30 percent (9 of 30) from the floor.
The Saints had an 8-0 run in the second half, and led by as many as 10 points.
Cloud County got back to within three points late in the game.
“We had three possessions in a row, down by three late, and turned it over,” Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County was limited to just four points over the final four minutes as the Saints picked up the win
“Seward played with more energy and more of a sense of urgency about the deal than we did,” Erkenbrack said.
Jordyn Alexander led Cloud County with 14 points. She was 6 of 14 from the field and two of five from the free throw line.
Pearlrae Thomas scored 11 points for the T-Birds.
Janya Smith pulled down 10 rebounds to go with five points.
Madison McLain, despite making just 6 of 24 field goal attempts, paced Seward County with 15 points.
Cloud County will host Dodge City on Wednesday night, and travel to Garden City on Saturday night.