The Barton Community College women's basketball team had an effective game plan for Saturday night's tilt at the Barton Gym but Hutchinson Community College proved why it's a highly nationally ranked team adjusting to every chess move as the No. 8 Blue Dragons rolled to a 78-56 win. The loss drops Barton to 3-9 in conference play with its third straight loss and sinks below the .500 mark for the first time this season at 11-12. Hutchinson's victory keeps the Blue Dragons atop the conference standings at 11-1 while improving to 21-1 on the season. Barton's next opponent is also near the top of the standings as the 18-5 and 10-2 third place Ravens of Coffeyville Community College visit the Barton Gym for a 5:30 p.m. tip on Monday.
Barton's triangle-and-two defense caused some early issues for the Blue Dragon offense keeping the Lady Cougars in the game early. A 5-0 Barton run cut the deficit to two but a Kyla Williams rebound off her own miss gave the Blue Dragons a 12-8 advantage after the first quarter.
Alexus Bryson, who previously drew Barton to within two late in the first, again cut the deficit to two just eight seconds into the second frame. It would be the last time Barton would be as close as Hutchinson scored the next five before buckets by Bryson and Jalisa Jones cut the deficit to only three. But as the Lady Cougars went cold from the field, Hutchinson flexed its dominance of the paint outscoring Barton 16-4 between the lines closing out the remaining 4:42 of the half with twelve straight to lead 31-16 at halftime.
Launching their go-for-broke defense in the fourth quarter, Barton made a late charge kick started by a baseline trey from Tyanna Warren seconds after being inserted off the bench. Kilee Harris created a steal and later in the possession Unruh was sent to the line connecting on the second of her two throws. Unruh then created a steal on the inbounds resulting in a foul and another trip to the charity stripe where the Great Bend freshman connected on both. A spurt of hot potato ensued for both teams on the next couple of possessions and after a pair of Harris free throws Barton had suddenly cut the lead to fifteen with just under three minutes to play. It was too little too late as the Blue Dragons tightened the ship outscoring Barton by seven the rest of the way to win their seventh straight in the Barton Gym and thirteenth in a row against the Lady Cougars.
Bryson came off the bench to lead Barton with thirteen points while Harris and Baker added twelve and eleven points respectively. Being outrebounded 39-22 in the game, Unruh's five led Barton while Baker led a 16-5 steal advantage with five while Harris was credited with four.
Kirea Rogers' double-double nineteen point fourteen rebounds led four Hutchinson players in double figures. Mandy Madden, who was a large part of the eighteen point paint advantage, scored sixteen while Lakin Preisner scored fifteen with thirteen coming from Taylor Stahly. Getting twenty-four assists on thirty-two field goals, Inja Butina led the way with eight.