CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College men's basketball moved to 3-0 on the young season Saturday night with a 107-58 drubbing of Kansas Wesleyan University JV.
But don't let the scoreboard fool you. There is still work to be done for the T-Birds before next Saturday's Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference opener on the road against Dodge City Community College.
"I'll have to watch the film, but I didn't think we were as good (Saturday) as we were against Southeast Community College at times on Thursday," said Cloud County head coach, Chad Eshbaugh. "We have a lot of work to do in preparation for the (KJCCC). I think the guys' effort is there and they want to do the right things, but we have some things we need to clean up if we want to compete in the Jayhawk Conference."
Though they never trailed, the T-Birds stumbled out of the gates offensively in the first five minutes, managing a slim 7-4 lead. The ensuing deadball, Cloud County came out in its full-court press to speed things up.
"We came out with poor energy, I don't think we had a lot of fire. So sometimes if you can speed the tempo up with a press it can get guys going," Eshbaugh said. "It helped some, allowed us to play a little faster."
The plan worked as Cloud County forced 15 of the Coyotes' 23 turnovers on the night during the first half, turning those easy transition opportunities into 19 points.
Cloud County was also able to dominate the offensive glass during the first 20 minutes as it grabbed seven offensive boards and tallied 10 second-chance points. It'd carry a 49-25 lead into the halftime locker rooms.
Sophomore transfer Lavar Harewood and redshirt freshman Ramion Burt Jr. each came off the bench Saturday to provide Cloud County with a spark as Harewood poured in a game-high 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting and led all players with seven rebounds.
Burt Jr. was a spotless 9-for-9 from the floor on Saturday for 18 points, including 12 in the first half. Cloud County outscored Kansas Wesleyan JV, 69-22, in bench points.
"(Harewood) played a really solid all-around game and I think Ramion did a really nice job finishing around the rim for us," said Eshbaugh about the duo. "As the game progressed, I also think Alex Martin got himself involved offensively, which is something we need him to do."
Martin, after a quiet first half, shot 4-for-5 in the second half and 6-of-8 for the game to finish with his season-high of 17 points. Sophomore point guard Aamahne Santos was the fourth T-Birds' player in double-figures with 16 points, while fellow sophomore backcourt mate Deon Lyle chipped in nine points.
Cloud County will get one final non-conference tune-up game before starting KJCCC play as it takes on Bethany College JV at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
"We need to prepare of ourselves in a manner that's getting ready for Dodge City," Eshbaugh said. "We need to play well Tuesday and play with a purpose. We need to understand that, if we do those things, the results will take care of themselves."