Cloud County Athletics
HUTCHINSON - Limited to just one player reaching double-figures, the Cloud County Community College women's basketball team would lead for just 31 seconds in a 75-56 road loss at Hutchinson Community College inside the Hutchinson Sports Arena on Sunday.
Losing a second-consecutive game for just the second time this season, Cloud County drops to 12-8 overall and 7-7 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference while the Blue Dragons pick up their 16th win of the year to improve to 16-4 overall and 10-4 in the KJCCC.
An early lead for Hutchinson would see the Blue Dragons jump out to an 8-4 lead over the first three and a half minutes of the game despite Cloud County hitting on two of their first four shots of the game. Using a pair of Te Araroa Sopoaga free throws to get within a point at 9-8 with 4:14 left in the first quarter, Cloud County would manage to tie things up at 10-10 a minute later in the period before taking their only lead of the game at the 2:42 mark on a made Sarah Lawless three. The Blue Dragons would answer on the ensuing possession to tie things at 13-13 to spark a 7-0 spurt and go up at 18-13 before a Jessi Brummett layup in the final seconds would bring CCCC within three.
Following a made Hutchinson layup to open the second quarter, Cloud County would get a Tereia Steward trey followed by a Maimouna Sissoko jump shot to tie things back up at 20-20 while keeping pace with the Blue Dragons throughout the opening 14 minutes of the game. CCCC would then be forced to endure a three-plus minute scoring drought but manage to hold HCC to just two made buckets to keep within four as the Blue Dragons would never see their lead get higher than five. A layup by Brummett with 3:21 left before halftime would bring Cloud County back within three at 27-24 before a 7-0 spurt would occur in nearly identical fashion to the end of the first quarter with CCCC answering with a long Lawless two trail 34-26 heading into halftime.
Holding Hutchinson scoreless for the first 3:15 of the second half would allow Cloud County to score the first six points of the third quarter as an eight-point deficit would be cut down to just two at 34-32. The Blue Dragons would end their drought with a made layup off an offensive rebound before going on to score eight of the next 10 points to approach a double-digit lead once more. Continuing to try and keep within striking distance would be the T-Birds as Cloud County would continue to attack the paint but see HCC take advantage of the free throw line to maintain their lead. A 12-2 run to end the third quarter by Hutchinson would break the game open to end the third quarter as an eight-point deficit would balloon to 16 at 54-38 over the final 3:41 of the quarter to put CCCC in their largest deficit through the first 30 minutes of game time.
Tacking on another six points to open the fourth quarter would be Hutchinson as the lead would eclipse 20 points with Cloud County looking for any type of answer they could find. Scoring the next six points to return the deficit back to where it started the fourth, time would begin to be a factor as the T-Birds would start trading buckets with the Blue Dragons which would not allow CCCC to cut into the deficit. Down the final stretch of the game, Hutchinson would manage to match the output of Cloud County before adding late free throws to extend the final margin in the game to 19.
Shooting wouldn't be the issue that CCCC found it to be on Thursday evening as the T-Birds would outshoot Hutchinson in the contest by finishing with a 41.1 percent (23-of-56) field goal percentage compared to just a 36.5 percent (23-of-63) outing from the Blue Dragons. The biggest difference in the contest would come at the charity stripe as Cloud County would shoot just 13 total free throws and connect on six for a 46.2 percent free throw percentage while seeing HCC go to the line 29 times and hit 24 free throws (82.8 percent). Points off turnovers would also be an issue for the T-Birds with Hutchinson holding a 23-8 advantage after forcing CCCC into 24 turnovers while committing just 14 of their own.
The lone T-Bird to reach double-figures would be Lawless with a career-high 15 points to go along with six rebounds and a block while Josephine Igherighe, Sopoaga, and Brummett would all score eight points each. Sopoaga would add a game-high 11 assists while Igherighe and Alize Ruiz both hauled in a team-high seven rebounds to lead Cloud County. Hutchinson would have three of their five starters reach double-figures and be led by a game-high 23 points from Mya Williams who would become the sixth Blue Dragon in program history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark in her career on Sunday.
Cloud County will return home for the first time in 10 days to play host to Independence Community College in a 6 p.m. contest on Wednesday. The Pirates are currently one game under .500 at 9-10 overall and 5-8 in the KJCCC after having their weekend contest at Colby postponed due to weather. In the earlier meeting this year between teams in Independence on Nov. 22, CCCC won by a score of 81-72 while never trailing in the contest.