IOLA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College women's basketball team played a dominating 20 minutes of basketball Thursday evening, then withstood a pair of second-half flurries from Allen County Community College to grind out a 68-62 road victory.
For Cloud County (14-7 overall, 7-5 KJCCC), the win was a positive step in the right direction, just a little tighter than the T-Birds had invisioned after owning a 37-17 lead at the half over the Red Devils (3-17 overall, 1-9 KJCCC).
"Any win is good in the conference, especially on the road. I thought we did quite a lot of good things in that first half," said Cloud County head coach, Brett Erkenbrack. "Unfortunately, in the second half we were tentative on both ends of the floor and let them get back in the ballgame at the end."
Cloud County led by as many as 23 in the first half, riding the hot hand of sophomore forward Scout Frame as she poured in a team-high 21 points and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds.
"Maeson and Mikayla each gave us a good lift off the bench again (Thursday), Chase hit some big 3-pointers, and we made enough free throws there at the end to maintain a little bit of a cushion," Erkenbrack said.
As a team, the T-Birds shot 44 percent from the floor (15-of-34) in the first half and limited their turnovers to 14 on the evening.
Allen County was able to flip the script a bit on the T-Birds in the second half, shooting 45 percent (14-of-31) while Cloud County was limited 37 percent shooting and nine made field goals over the final 20 minutes.
A barrage of late 3-pointers helped the Red Devils climb within as close as four points with 10 seconds remaining before the T-Birds were able to seal the 68-62 final.
While the first half of Thursday's game was encouraging, Erkenbrack said the T-Birds need to find a way to get back to a consistent 40 minutes as the calendar inches closes to February.
"We have to completely decide that we're going to play harder or it's going to be a struggle night in and night out. It's as simple as that," Erkenbrack said. "We must play harder then good things will happen. We're struggling with that right now and hopefully we're snap out of it and get going again."
Cloud County will look to build off Thursday's positives when it hosts Independence Community College at 6 p.m. Saturday during Homecoming weekend.
The 13th annual Cloud County Athletics Hall of Fame will be inducted during halftime of the men's game that evening at approximately 9 p.m. Tip-off for the men's game is at 8 p.m.