CCCC defeats NWKT advances, to quarterfinals

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 The good outweighed the not so good as the Cloud County Thunderbirds defeated Northwest Kansas Technical College 90-67 in the opening round of the Region 6 Basketball Tournament Saturday night in Bryant Gymnasium.
Cloud County had runs of 14-4 and 16-3 in the first half to build a 50-26 lead on the Mavericks.
Northwest Kansas Tech outscored the T-Birds 41-40 in the second half, but could never get closer than 11 points.
Cloud County (18-12) will play sixth-ranked Butler Community College (30-1) in the tournament quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Koch Arena in Wichita.
Butler rolled past Colby 81-45 in the opening round, and defeated Cloud County 87-77  earlier in the season.
“We will have to play better,” Cloud County coach Brett Erkenbrack said of the matchup with Butler.
Cloud County bolted to a 9-2 lead on Northwest Kansas Tech, and never trailed against a team that came in 4-25.
The Mavericks would hang around for the first nine minutes of the game, and railed just 16-13 when Cindy Demosthene scored.
“Sometimes in these first round games we play well and sometimes and we don’t. I think we had a little of both tonight. At times we were outstanding. During stretches in the first half we were really good on both ends,” Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County scored six points in 1:31, four by sophomore Jayna Smith, to extend the lead to 22-13.
Northwest Kansas Tech got a basket by Rayven Thomas to make it 22-15.
The T-Birds got a bucket by Jordyn Alexander and a three-point shot by Alyssa Steppe to extend the lead to 27-15.
Leading 34-22, the T-Birds would hold the Mavericks scoreless for better than five minutes, and pumped in 13-unanswered points to open up a 47-23 advantage.
Alexander scored six points during the run, and finished with a game-high 27. The sophomore was 13 of 21 from the field and one of three from the free throw line, and also grabbed seven rebounds.
Ashley Brown knocked down a three for Northwest Kansas Tech to close the gap to 47-26.
Smith hit a short jumper and then one of two free throws, and Cloud County led 50-26 at halftime.
Smith was 9 of 14 from the floor and 8 of 10 from the line in scoring 26 points. She also had nine rebounds and five assists.
Cloud County would take its biggest lead of the game, 52-26, early in the second half.
The Mavericks would chip away at the deficit, and trailed just 70-59 when Naychiang Bile scored with 9:37 to play.
“We stood around and allowed them to score in the second half,” Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County got a bucket by Alexander, a three by Tai Nittler and then baskets by Smith and Nittler to push the lead to 79-59.
Northwest Kansas Tech got no closer than 16 points after that.
Nittler scored 12 points and handed out six assists for the T-Birds.
Cloud County finished 34 of 72 from the field for 47 percent and 18 of 23 from the line for 78 percent.
The T-Birds fnished with 24 assists in the game.
“ At times we really moved the ball well, and shot it well,” Erkenbrack said.
Bile, who was 10 of 12 from the line, led the Mavericks with 25 points. Demosthene scored 18, and Thomas added 12.
In the other first round games Saturday night, Barton defeated Cowley 82-76, Seward defeated Neosho County 90-36, Dodge City defeated Coffeyville 73-67, Garden City defeated Labette 72-69, Independence defeated Pratt 78-69 and Hutchinson defeated Allen 105-33.
Barton (19-12) plays Seward County. Dodge City (17-14) takes on Garden City (17-13) and Independence (17-10) faces Hutchinson (29-0) in the quarterfinals.
The winners meet in the semifinals on Friday.

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