CCCC completes sweep of Cougars

GREAT BEND — Cloud County, overcoming some adversity over the final three minutes, completed the regular season sweep of Barton County with a 78-72 Jayhawk Conference Western Division victory Saturday night.
The T-Birds were seemingly in control of the game when Jordyn Alexander hit a jumper giving them a 65-54 with just 2:40 to play in the game.
Alexander would foul out 19 seconds later. Linda Pagrode picked up her fifth foul with 1:40 to play and Tai Nittler fouled out 39 seconds after that.
Barton County would trim the deficit to just four points, 72-68, when Brandy Winbush hit a three-point shot with 33 seconds to play in the game.
Two big free throws by Kiara McCall and two more by Jayna Smith gave Cloud County a 76-68 advantage with 14 seconds remaining.
Barton County got no closer than five points after that.
“We were hoping that time would run out before we ran out of players,” Cloud County coach Brett Erkenbrack said, “We played really well. It was a really good win. We have to be able to overcome the adversity of not just that ball game but the last week.”
Cloud County was playing without second leading scorer Courtney Fisher, who suffered a season ending knee injury, and with a hobbled Alexander, who missed the previous game with an ankle injury.
“It is a good start to the week for us,” Erkenbrack said.
With the win, the T-Birds, 14-9 overall, improve to 5-3 in the Jayhawk West. They are tied for third place with Garden City and will host Pratt in a makeup game tonight and Dodge City on Wednesday night.
Barton County, 17-8 overall, drops to 5-4 in the Conference.
The Cougars scored the first four points of the game, but Cloud County went on a 14-2 run to go up 14-6.
Barton County fought back to take a 31-30 lead when Phikala Anthony scored with 3:07 to play in the first half.
A basket by Alexander and four straight points by Kimi Lindshield gave Cloud County a 36-31 halftime advantage.
Buckets by Lindshield and Linda Pagrode in the first 56 seconds of the second half stretched the T-Birds’ lead to 40-31.
Mariana Lambert knocked down a three for Barton County to make it 42-36.
Lindshield hit one of two free throws, Alexander scored inside and Raneisha Duncan connected a three to make it 48-36.
Duncan made five of eight three pointers in scoring a team high 21 points for Cloud County. She also had six rebounds.
“I thought, overall, our guard play with Raneisha, Tai Nittler and Linda might have been as good as our guards, collectively, have been all year,” Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County would lead by as many as 14 points, 60-46, when McCall scored a drive.
Fouls would begin to mount, and the T-Birds were in survival mode.
“We made it a little tougher on ourselves than it needed to be, because we missed some free throws and we just kept fouling,” Erkenbrack said.
Barton County shot 15 free throws in the final seven minutes of the game.
The Cougars would close the gap to six points, 71-65, when Kailai Branter made two free throws with 56 seconds left.
Alyssa Steppe went one of two from the line to give Cloud County a 72-65 cushion.
Winbush then dropped the three to get the Cougars within four points, 72-68.
McCall made two free throws, Lambert missed a three, and Smith hit two free throws and the T-Birds were able to hold on the for the win.
“It was a pretty good effort for us from beginning to end in a really big ball game we needed to win,” Erkenbrack said.
Nittler scored 18 points before fouling out.
Smith, who picked up three fouls in the first half, finished with 12 points.
Pagrode added eight points and Lindshield had seven points and six rebounds.
Ashton Bruner paced Barton County with 19 points.
Hedrington scored 17 for the Cougars, and Lambert chipped in 12.

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