CCCC battles back to bounce Beavers
PRATT — Cloud County had to fight back, and then fight back again and then fight back again to lock up an 87-77 Jayhawk Conference Western Division win over Pratt on Wednesday night.
Trailing by seven points in the first half, the Thunderbirds battled back to grab a 45-38 halftime lead.
Pratt opened the second half with a 16-2 surge to go back up by seven points, 54-47.
Cloud County rallied to claim a 72-67 advantage.
Scoring six straight points, Pratt went up 73-72.
The T-Birds then outscored the Beavers 15-4 over the final 2:40 to pick up a second straight conference road win.
"We were poor to start the game and we were poor to start the second half, but we finished both halves strong. I suppose if you have to have it one way or the other, probably finishing strong is the best option," Cloud County coach Brett Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County has now won four straight games to improve to 11-6 overall and 2-0 in the Jayhawk West.
Pratt falls to 13-5 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
With sophomore Tatiana Grant scoring eight points, the Beavers got out to a 19-12 lead in the game.
Grant, who is averaging 26 points per game, finished with 30 points. She was 12 of 22 from the field and six of six from the free throw line.
"They have one of the best players in the conference, certainly one of the better offensive players. We did a pretty good job on her in the first half. The second half we lost a couple of times and we did a poor job of keeping her off of the offensive boards," Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County was trailing 27-22 when Jordyn Alexander scored four straight points to start a 15-2 spurt.
Agnese Aramina knocked down a pair of three-point shots during the run that gave the T-Birds a 37-29 advantage.
Aramina was five of 12 from the field, including four of eight from three-point range, in scoring 15 points.
"Agnese Aramina played her best all-around game of the year," Erkenbrack said.
The two teams traded baskets over the final three minutes of the first half, and Cloud County led 45-38 at the break.
Getting eight points each from Grant and Elle Stein, the Beavers went on a 16-2 sizz to start the second half, and led 54-47.
Stein scored 18 points in the game.
Cloud County chipped away at the deficit, and went up 66-65 when Alexander connected on a three.
Aramina followed up a missed shot, and the T-Birds led 68-65.
Cloud County was up 72-67 when Stein made two free throws, Maddie Pendry scored on a drive, and Stein got a bucket to give Pratt a 73-72 lead.
It was a 75-74 game when Alexander made two free throws and Raneisha Duncan scored on a layup to put Cloud County up 78-75.
Aramina missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, but Alexander grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. She made both free throws, and the T-Birds led 80-75 with 42 seconds left.
A basket by Grant got Pratt back within three points, 80-77.
The Beavers would not score again as Cloud County tossed in seven points to secure the win.
"It is hard to win any time, and it is certainly not easy to win on the road in the conference," Erkenbrack said.
Alexander led the way for Cloud County with 27 points and five rebounds. She was seven of nine from the field and 12 of 12 from the free throw line.
Duncan added 13 points.
"I was really proud of our sophomore group. Jordyn, Jayna (Smith) and Raneisha were really good," Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County plays its first home conference game when it hosts Barton County on Saturday night.
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