The Barton Community College men's basketball team started its new season Wednesday night at the Barton Gym with an 87-80 victory over Neosho County Community College advancing to the quarterfinal round of the Region VI playoffs.
Snapping a two game slide improving to 24-7 on the season, the nationally receiving votes and 5th seeded Cougars advance to Park City's Hartman Arena for a Sunday 3:00 p.m. contest versus Northwest Kansas Technical College as the 12th seeded Mavericks went on the road Wednesday in knocking off 4th seeded Cowley College 87-84. Neosho County has their season come to an end at 15-16.
The Cougars got off to a great start in scoring the game's first eight points and holding a 10-2 lead before the Panthers started to heat up from long distance. Canning a trio of shots behind the arc in the next three minutes, Neosho County would take their largest lead of the game following Martin Vogts' jumper on a 7-0 spurt for an 18-14 advantage with 9:44 to play.
Getting five straight from John Williams to turn the tide two minutes later, the Cougars would break the final tie of the game at the 6:44 mark in outscoring the Panthers by ten for a 45-35 lead to halftime.
Starting the second half like the Cougars began the game, eight straight closed the Panthers to within four just forty-nine seconds into the final frame. Neosho County continued to chip away in trailing by just one at the 14:40 mark but sophomore Elijah Ford took the game over in the next minute with a six point run starting with a big offensive tip-in.
Despite the Cougars pushing the lead out to ten after Williams' five straight, Neosho County wouldn't go away stringing the next seven together to make it just a three point game with 1:56 left.
Ford's three-point play on the ensuing possession increased the gap to six as Barton secured the win making five of its next six charity tosses to advance in the tournament.
Vogts connected on half of Barton's eight made three pointers to lead the Cougars with seventeen points while dishing out a club high four assists. Ford posted his eighth double-double of the year dumping in fifteen points and grabbing thirteen rebounds to close out his Barton Gym experience. Washington's normal solid free throw shooting of 9-of-12 from the stripe added fifteen with White and Williams adding thirteen and ten in coming off the bench.
Jay McMiller's twenty-three off the bench led all players with twenty-three points while grabbing a team high eight bounds. Brian Tolefree contributed sixteen with Chol Adup's fifteen points off the bench rounded out the double digit Panther scoring.
Additional information regarding the Region VI Tournament can be found at www.kjccc.org.