T-Birds use big second half to pull away from Doane JV

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Cloud County used a big second half to pull away to an 86-41 win over the Doane (Neb.) College junior varsity Thursday night in Bryant Gymnasium.
Shooting just 38 percent (13 of 34) and committing nine turnovers, the Thunderbirds struggled to separate from the Tigers in the first half, and led just 36-22.
Cloud County poured in 50 points in the second half, and limited Doane to just 19 on its way to the lopsided win, and improves to 9-2 on the season.
Ajai Ford, Aleesha Coulter and Paige Champlin combined for 15 points as Cloud County got out to a 17-4 lead in the game.
Doane tossed in eight straight points, and trailed just 17-12 when Tracy Meyer scored inside with 11:01 to play in the first half.
“We just continue to inflict pain on ourselves unnecessarily, and it certainly has been a long process in trying to figure out we must play more efficiently and we must play harder,” Cloud County coach Brett Erkenbrack said.
A three-point basket by Megan Stagner and five straight points by Coulter pushed the Cloud County lead to 25-12.
Doane could cut the deficit to nine points, 29-20, on a follow by Melinda Stauffer with 3:27 remaining in the half.
Leading 32-22, the T-Birds got a basket by Kamika Mason and two free throws by Jordyn Alexander in the final 31 seconds of the half to go up 36-22.
Meyer scored the first two points of the second half to make it a 36-24 game.
Champlin scored six straight points and Coulter knocked down a three to give Cloud County a 45-24 advantage.
Connecting on 8 of 12 field goal attempts, Champlin scored 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds.
Coulter finished with a team high 18 points. She was 5 of 12 from the floor, including four of seven from three-point range, and four of four from the free throw line.
“I thought Paige had a nice game. Aleesha shot the ball well,” Erkenbrack said.
Doane got a basket by Morgan Davis, and it was a 45-26 game.
In a span of 1:01, Cloud County got a three by Coulter, a jumper by Jayna Smith and a layup by Smith, and led 52-26.
The two teams traded baskets over the next 4:30.
Leading 56-32, the T-Birds used a 7-1 spurt to open up a 30-point advantage, 63-33, and coasted to the 45-point win.
“The second half was better. There was a long stretch in the second half where we were more efficient offensively, moved the ball better and were more aggressive on the defensive end,” Erkenbrack said.
Mason came off the bench to score 14 points and grab five rebounds for Cloud County.
Ford had 12 points and four assists.
Alexander pulled down 11 rebounds to go with seven points and four assists.
Smith had seven points, five rebounds, six assists and six steals.
Cloud County will host State Fair (Mo.) Community College at 3 p.m. Saturday.
“Certainly Saturday will be a much tougher test. Another quality opponent,” Erkenbrack said.
State Fair is 9-2 on the season.

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