No. 9 Hutchinson top T-Birds, 66-50

No. 9 Hutchinson top T-Birds, 66-50

CONCORDIA, Kansas — Defense reigned supreme Wednesday night in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference showdown between No. 9 ranked Hutchinson Community College and Cloud County Community College.

Field goals were few and far between as each team struggled to get good looks against each other. But eventually it was the visiting Blue Dragons who played tougher and made more plays en route to a 66-50 victory over the T-Birds.

Each team received solid scoring contributions from their guards as sophomores Kaley Broeckelman and Chelcie Kizart were double-figures for Cloud County with 11 points and 10 points, respectively, while Hutchinson received 17 points from Taylor Stahly and 10 points from her backcourt mate, Lakin Preisner.

Getting others involved, though, proved to be problematic.

"Our point guards combined for 10 turnovers and no assists. That's not going to bode well for us," said Cloud County head coach, Brett Erkenbrack. "I thought Hutchinson was physically tougher than us on both ends of the floor and that was probably the big difference."

Hutchinson (3-1 overall, 1-1 KJCCC) jumped out to an 18-11 lead after the first quarter, and upped its lead to 35-26 by halftime. The T-Birds (4-1 overall, 1-1 KJCCC) got within seven again with 3:13 remaining in the third quarter at 46-39 after sophomore Shannon Owens picked off a pass and found a Jenna Clasen on the break for a layup.

But it was just one of six made field goals of the second half for Cloud County (6-22 27.3 percent). The final 20 minutes didn't go much better for Hutchinson as it also shot 27 percent, including only 1-for-14 in the fourth quarter. But the Blue Dragons were able to pull away thanks to a 16-for-22 (73 percent) performance at the free-throw line in the second half.

Sophomore forward Simone Walker led Cloud County with 15 points and eight rebounds, while her frontcourt mate, sophomore Erin Alexander, was handcuffed by three first-half fouls and limited to five points on 1-of-4 shooting. Erkenbrack said Alexander, who added seven rebounds and two blocks, needs more touches moving forward, starting with Saturday's road game against No. 20 Seward County Community College.

Seward County (4-0 overall, 2-0 KJCCC) defeated Hutchinson 77-70 in overtime last Saturday and poses another tough early-season test for the T-Birds.

"We've got to get tougher and smarter. We've got to get better," Erkenbrack said. "We knew this was going to be a tough week for us with Hutchinson (Wednesday) and Seward County on Saturday. We have to play better going forward and it is as simple as that. At times we played well and played good defense, we just couldn't string enough of it together."