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CCCC fights off Cougars, 80-68

A strong finish gave the Cloud County Thunderbirds a second straight win following semester break.
Trailing 59-58, the T-Birds outscored Barton Community College 22-9 over the final eight minutes to finish off an 80-68 Jayhawk Conference victory Wednesday night in Bryant Gymnasium.
In what had been a back and forth second half, Cloud County got six straight points from leading scorer Scout Frame and a couple of big baskets by freshman Chase Siedlik during the critical closing stretch that locked up the win.
“I was really happy with our guards in what they did, or didn't do. Our decision making was a lot better late in the ball game tonight than it had been at some other times. We had some patience and we worked it around and worked it around. And Scout made some big plays, and Cassidy (Haufler) made some plays. And then of course Chase hit a big three,” Cloud County coach Brett Erkenbrack said, “We did what we wanted to do offensively to finish out the game, and that was critical.”
Cloud County, now 12-4 overall and 5-2 in conference play, led Barton 41-32 at halftime.
The Cougars put together a 17-5 run the first six minutes of the second half to go up 49-46.
There would be five lead changes over the final 2:30 of the third quarter, and the T-Birds were up 54-53 heading into the final period.
A free throw by Kolby Davis 21 seconds into the fourth quarter pulled Barton even at 54-54.
Cloud County got consecutive baskets by Haufler and Frame to reclaim the lead at 58-54.
A three-point shot by Ryen White and a bucket by Irene Chukwudi put the Cougars back on top 59-58.
Frame, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, scored the next six points of the game, the T-Birds led 64-59.
Jaylin Stapleton made two free throws for Barton, but the T-Birds answered with a basket by Chiara De Virgilio.
Taylor Regan scored inside, and Barton was down just 66-63 with 4:38 remaining in the game.
Cloud County, in a span of 1:15, had Haufler score inside, Emmiley Hendrixson connect on two free throws and Siedlik bury a three with the shot clock running out to seize control of the game, 73-65.
Siedlik came off the bench and hit two big threes and scored eight points.
“Huge plays. Every basket Chase made was big,” Erkenbrack said, “She hit the big three at the end of the half when the shot clock was running down. She was excellent.”
Richelle Turney scored for Barton, but Siedlik responded with a bucket.
A three-point shot by White led the Cougars trailing 75-68 with 1:36 to play.
Cloud County knocked down five of six free throws over the final 45 seconds to secure the win.
“Barton was really hot, and this was already its fourth game since Christmas. They rolled over Butler on Saturday, 83-50 and were coming in here with a lot of confidence and have a lot of weapons,” Erkenbrack said, “It thought it was a great team effort by us, especially on the defensive end.”
Hendrixson, a freshman guard, knocked down five of eight three-point attempt in scoring a season high 22 points for Cloud County. She scored 15 of her points in the first half.
“Emmiley was dynamite the whole game, especially the first half,” Erkenbrack said.
Haufler, a 6-0 sophomore, finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman Kamryn Collins added 12 points.
“I thought Kamryn, even though her stats weren't great, I thought she was outstanding driving the ball to the basket and finishing plays,” Erkenbrack said, “She held Mallory Miller to five shots and three points, and that girl is a really good shooter. That is two games in a row that Kamryn has really been dominant defensively against a pretty powerful offensive weapon.”
Barton, 11-4 overall and 4-2 in the conference, was led by Stapleton with 16 points.
Turney scored 11 for the Cougars. Chukwudi and Fatou Ndao chipped in 10 each.
Cloud County would not trail in the first half.
Holding a slim 16-14 lead, the T-Birds got consecutive threes by Hendrixson to go up 22-14.
Cloud County extended the lead to 10 points in the second period.
Barton closed the gap to 38-32 late in the half.
Siedlik knocked down a three as time expired, and the T-Birds led 41-32.
The Cougars put together their big run to open the second half, but Cloud County was able to regroup and close out the game.
The T-Birds play at Pratt Community College on Saturday afternoon and at Butler Community College on Monday.


Concordia Blade-Empire

510 Washington St.
Concordia, KS 66901