Patience keys T-Birds' 76-62 road win over Lady Pirates

Patience keys T-Birds' 76-62 road win over Lady Pirates

INDEPENDENCE, Kansas — Despite ice conditions delaying the Cloud County Community College women's basketball team's road contest against Independence Community College, originally scheduled for last Saturday, the T-birds' skated to a 76-62 victory in Monday's conference matinee.

Cloud County (12-4 overall, 9-4 KJCCC) punished the Lady Pirates (7-10 overall, 4-9 KJCCC) from 3-point range, responding to Indy's 2-3 zone with a sizzling 12-for-28 (43 percent) mark from beyond the arc.

Leading the way for Cloud was freshamn guard Kelsi Mueller set a new career high for the second straight game, pouring in23 points for the second consecutive game. Sophomore guard Kaley Broeckelman followed close behind with 19 points, including a 5-of-11 mark from 3-point range.

"We had good patience on the offensive end and we did a really nice job of getting the ball where it needed to go against that zone," said Cloud County head coach, Brett Erkenbrack. "We got enough going inside that (Lady Pirates) had to be aware of our inside stuff and then we got the ball in Kaley and Kelsi's hands at the right time. They hit big 3-pointer after big 3-pointer."

Broeckelman and Mueller highlighted what was an extremely productive day from Cloud County's starters as sophomores Chelcie Kizart and Erin Alexander each recorded double-doubles on the day, as well.

Alexander finished with 12 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocks, while Kizart also added 12 points and a career-high 12 assists versus three turnovers. As a team, Cloud County committed a mere eight turnovers, tying its lowest mark this season set on Dec. 3 against Colby Community College.

"I thought Chelcie played great. She made fantastic plays on both ends," Erkenbrack said. "Her dribble penetration created some nice opportunities for us on the interior and her defense out front, getting some hands on the ball, really got us going an set the tone defensively for us."

Kizart swiped a team-high five steals, and the T-Birds finished with 14 steals, their second highest single-game total this season.

"I think the way we defended against their size inside was as much of a factor as how well we shot the basketball," Erkenbrack said. "We made it more difficult for them to throw entry passes into the post and we had active hands. We created bad situations and bad angles for them to pass. Taking away those passes was the key to guarding their size because they had the ability to play over the top of us."

Cloud County never trailed Monday as it methodically built its lead, going up four points at 17-13 after the first quarter and doubling the advantage by the half to own a 37-29 advantage heading into the halftime locker rooms.

The T-Birds broke the game open in the second half, taking a 55-43 lead after the third quarter and ballooning their lead to 20 with 4:57 remaining in the fourth quarter.

"Independence is a good ballclub and its record is a little bit deceiving. (Lady Pirates) have lost some close games to some really good teams like Seward, Coffeyville and Butler," Erkenbrack said. "To deal with the game being pushed back and weather the last couple days, I thought we played one of our most complete games, certainly since Christmas time. This was the best 40 minutes of basketball that we've played since Christmas and it was a good time to do it."

Cloud County will look to build off of Monday's win with Wednesday's quick turnaround against Dodge City Community College. The T-Birds will play host to the Conquistadors, a team they defeated 72-62 back on Nov. 12 to open KJCCC play. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday inside Arley Bryant Gymnasium.