The road jersey colored No. 19 ranked Barton Community College men's basketball team pulled away Thursday night at the Barton Gym from a pesky Dodge City Community College squad for an 86-72 win in the opening round of the Region VI playoffs. The third seeded Cougars improved to 26-5 on the year advancing to Sunday's 5:00 p.m. quarterfinal at Park City's Hartman Arena against sixth seeded Colby Community College. Dodge City, seeded fourteenth, ends the season at 8-23 on the year. Colby makes the trip to meet the Cougars having beat Pratt Community College 103-82 Wednesday at Colby's Community Building.
With Head Coach Craig Fletchall putting the home Cougars in their road jerseys after a school best 12-1 road mark, it would be a Maalox first half of action for each team's coaching staff as the game was toe-to-toe the first twenty minutes as neither squad could grab more than a three point lead which included thirteen ties and flip-flopped leads ten times for a 45-all halftime score.
Knocking down 7-of-15 from behind the arc in the first twenty minutes, Dodge City started to cool off while the Cougars continued their dominance on the boards. Starting to make their move nine minutes into the second frame, Kawanise Wilkins provided the separation on a personal nine point spurt including burying a long three pointer for a 74-63 lead with 8:06 to play.
After Dodge City cut the gap to eight with 7:16 to play, the game turned to the Marvin Cannon show in outscoring the Conquistadors 10-1 in the next five minutes including a crowd rousing hoop-and-harm. Behind Cannon and the defensive effort limiting second chance points, Barton had full command with their largest lead of sixteen behind a Cannon tip-in for an 84-68 with 3:24 to play.
Cannon's twenty-six points led all scorers as the Virginia freshman recorded his second straight and fourth double-double of the season by hauling down fifteen rebounds while swatting away four Conquistador shots. Keshon Montague dished out a game high five assist to go along with sixteen points. Wilkins finished with fifteen points and grabbed eight rebounds while Roy Broomfield made his second straight start and posted his second straight double-digit night adding twelve points to go along with seven rebounds.
Jyrus Freels twenty-one point, nine rebound performance led Dodge City with Kevin Howard the only other Conquistador in double-digits with fourteen.
The Cougars' run in the playoffs can be heard on local radio 104.3FM or streaming online at www.GreatBendPost.com. Fan information for the playoffs including brackets and ticket prices can visit the Region VI Tournament page for additional details.