CONCORDIA -- For the second time in three days, the Cloud County Community College women's basketball team would put together a strong first half that would be spoiled by a second-half rally as visiting Cowley Community College would take a 67-61 road win over the T-Birds inside of Arley Bryant Gymnasium on Monday.
Cloud County falls to 9-18 overall and 4-13 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference with the defeat while Cowley picked up their 18th win of the year to move to 18-9 overall and 8-9 in the KJCCC.
Following three ties in the opening five minutes of the game, the T-Birds would turn a 5-4 deficit into a 7-4 lead on a Kelsie Kelly triple that would help spark a 7-0 run to take an 11-5 lead. Cowley would manage to close the six point gap down to a single-point over the next three minutes of action with a Seanna Boltz made three making the score 13-12 in favor of Cloud County, but Alyssa Castilleja would have an answer at the buzzer with a runner from the left side of the lane to give CCCC a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Cloud County would score six of the first eight points to begin the second quarter, pushing their lead back to six at 20-14, but Cowley would have another quick response with a layup and made three just 21 seconds apart to get back within a point at 20-19. The Tigers would then tie the game on their next offensive possession at 22-22, but freshman Jacy Dalinghaus would have the response for Cloud County with a made three to put the T-Birds back on top. Over the course of the final four minutes of the first half, Cloud County would score seven of the final 10 points to take their largest lead of the first half at 32-25 heading into halftime.
In the third quarter, Cloud County would score a quick bucket to push their lead to nine before seeing Cowley make a run to get back within three at 36-33 with 7:05 remaining in the period. Four T-Bird free throws would put the lead back out to seven at 40-33 midway through the quarter, but Cloud County would be held to just four points over the final five minutes of the third as Cowley would outscore Cloud County 14-4 to go up 47-44 with 10 minutes left in the game.
Things would stay close throughout the fourth as the T-Birds would threaten to reclaim the lead on numerous occasions in the opening minutes of the fourth, but Cowley would have a response each and every time. Cloud County would eventually manage to get things tied up at 49-49, but Cowley would score the next five points to get some breathing room with just under five minutes left in the game. The battle for Cloud County would continue as the Tigers would seemingly have an answer after each T-Bird bucket, but a persistent CCCC offense would manage to get things tied back up at 59-59 with just 1:37 left on the clock.
Cloud County would then take one final lead on a LaKya Leslie jumper with 1:18 remaining, but Cowley would tie things back up on their next possession and force an empty possession by the T-Birds to get the ball back with 42 seconds left. A made triple by the Tigers would put the pressure back on Cloud County as the T-Birds would need to score to try and extend the game. A turnover on the ensuing inbounds would give the ball back to Cowley which allowed the Tigers to put the game away by hitting three of their final four free throws to pull out the win.
Cloud County would hold a commanding 50-35 advantage in rebounds and 34-16 advantage in points in the paint, but would be hurt by 20 Cowley points off of 16 T-Bird turnovers as the Tigers would also hold a 33-9 advantage in points from three. CCCC would shoot 34.8 percent (23-of-66) from the field and go just 12-for-20 (60.0 percent) from the charity stripe while Cowley would put up similar numbers (19-of-55, 34.5 percent from the field and 18-of-27, 66.7 percent) from the free throw line.
A season-high 16 points from Ostenson would lead the T-Birds as Cloud County would see three players finish in double-figures. Haven Hamilton would add 12 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double while Dalinghaus scored 11 points in just 17 minutes of action.
Two of Cloud County's final three games of the season will come away from home as the T-Birds will have a Wednesday night road contest at Allen Community College their next time out. The Red Devils are 7-18 overall and 2-14 in KJCCC play following a 74-55 road loss at Coffeyville on Wednesday night.