CCCC bounces back with 69-48 victory

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 Coming off a disappointing loss on Monday night, coach Brett Erkenbrack was unsure of how the Cloud County Thunderbirds would respond when they took the floor just two nights later.
Despite playing a third game in five days, the T-Birds bounced back with a solid defensive effort that propelled them to a 69-48 Jayhawk Conference Western Division victory over the Dodge City Conquistadors Wednesday night in Bryant Gymnasium.
Cloud County, which lost a home game to Pratt on Monday, limited a Dodge City team that had scored 71 points in the first meeting to just 23 percent (15 of 65) shooting from the floor on its way to sweeping the regular season series.
“Certainly we played a lot better than we played Monday night. Monday night was such a disappointment for us in so many ways. You never know how a group of young kids is going to respond,” Erkenbrack said, “Defensively, I thought we were a lot better and we rebounded the ball well.”
Cloud County had a 52-37 advantage on the boards.
The T-Birds, now 15-10 overall and 6-4 in the Jayhawk West, got six points from Jordyn Alexander in jumping out to a 10-2 lead, and would never trail in the game.
Dodge City would battle back to within four points, 16-12, when Aaria Nave hit a three-point shot with 12:29 to play in the first half.
The Conquistadors put up 31 three-point attempts in the game, and hit eight of them for 26 percent.
“Dodge City is a scary team. They have a lot of people who can score and they shoot all of those threes,” Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County went on a 10-2 run to open up a 26-14 lead.
It was a 27-19 game when the T-Birds got a three by Agnese Aramina and a jumper by Jayna Smith to grab a 32-19 lead.
Smith scored 13 of her 15 points in the first half. She also had 15 rebounds and five assists.
“Jayna Smith gave us a real good ball game,” Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County led the game 35-24 at halftime.
Alexander scored six points and Tai Nittler connected on a three as the T-Birds opened the second half with a 9-2 spurt to go up 44-26.
 Alexander and Nittler  combined to score Cloud County's first 17 points in the second half.
Hitting 8 of 13 field goal attempts and one of two free throws, Alexander finished with 17 points. She grabbed five rebounds.
Nittler matched Alexander with 17 points and five boards, and handed out five assists.
Dodge City would get as close as 13 points, 54-41, when Austynia Ruiz made a three with 9:30 remaining in the game.
It was a 58-43 game when Cloud County scored nine straight points to extend the lead to 67-43.
The Conquistadors would not challenge after that.
“We came out the second half and bumped the lead up, and just held that,” Erkenbrack said.
Kimi Lindshield came off the bench to score seven points and pull down eight rebounds for Cloud County.
The T-Birds were 28 of  76 from the floor for 37 percent.
“I thought we played a pretty solid game all the way around. We didn't shoot the ball very well, some of that may have been fatigue,” Erkenbrack said.
Ruiz and Katren Cramer scored nine points each for Dodge City.
Cloud County plays at Garden City on Saturday night.

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