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Barton women hang tough in five point loss to No. 10 Hutchinson

Barton's Alexus Bryson looks to drive past the Hutchinson defense in second half action Saturday at the Barton Gym.  Game played on 12-10-16.  Photo by Joel Powers, Hutchinson Sports Information Department.
Barton's Alexus Bryson looks to drive past the Hutchinson defense in second half action Saturday at the Barton Gym. Game played on 12-10-16. Photo by Joel Powers, Hutchinson Sports Information Department.

The Barton Community College women's basketball team gave the No. 10 ranked Hutchinson Community College a run for their money Saturday night at the Barton Gym but fell short in the upset bid losing 61-56.   The Lady Cougars battled back from a fifteen point third quarter deficit going on a 13-0 run crossing into the fourth drawing to within two twice before a Blue Dragon 7-0 run provided the cushion Hutchinson would need.  The loss sends Barton to the holiday break with a 4-5 conference record and 7-6 on the season while Hutchinson improves to 8-1 in the Jayhawk and 10-1 on the year.   The Lady Cougars' next action will come Wednesday, January 4, as Barton travels to Cloud County Community College for a 6:00 p.m. tip-off in resuming the conference season.  

Regan Unruh was the lone Lady Cougar to reach double-digits scoring twenty-four points on 7-of-12 shooting including 3-of-4 behind the arc and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe.  With Barton's inside players hampered with foul trouble throughout the night resulting in a ten point deficit in the paint, Megan Jirak and point guard Alexus Bryson led the rebounding with eight each with Bryson dishing out a career high eight assists.  Averaging nearly sixteen points per game, Katrina Roenfeldt was held to just six points on 2-of-11 from the field including an uncharacteristic 2-of-8 from long range.

Bride Kennedy-Hopoate gave the Blue Dragons a spark leading a twenty-nine point bench scoring edge with eighteen points on 8-of-9 from the field.  Kirea Rogers added eleven grabbing a team high nine rebounds leading a slim Hutchinson five rebound edge on the glass.

Getting five points from Unruh in the opening four minutes the Lady Cougars grabbed a brief 7-6 lead before a 10-1 Blue Dragon spurt over the next three minutes doubled up the score to 16-8.  Behind Unruh's seventh point of the quarter and buckets by Baylee Robinson and a pair of free throws by Lauren Welch the Lady Cougars cut the deficit to three before a fast break layup by Kayla Barber gave Hutchinson an 18-13 first quarter lead. 

Outscoring Barton by five in the next five minutes, Hutchinson was able to expand the lead out to ten.  Consecutive jumpers by Unruh and a Jirak 1-of-2 trip to the line cut the deficit in half but three Taylor Stahly free throws in the waning seconds of the half left Barton headed to the locker room on the short side of 32-24 score.

Beginning with an Unruh trey, Barton crept back to within five in the early stages of the third only to have Hutchinson respond with a 10-0 run in the ensuing two minutes led by six points from Hopoate as the Blue Dragons controlled the paint 12-2 in the quarter.  Back-to-back long balls from Roenfeldt and Jirak closed out the quarter as Barton continued the run into the final ten minutes with another seven straight finding itself trailing by just two 47-42 with 7:42 remaining.

Hutchinson held off the Barton run getting a Rogers fifteen foot jumper off an inbounds play pushing the lead back to four.  A pair of Welsch free throws cut the deficit in half but a quick 7-0 run in the next moment buried the Lady Cougars back into a nine point hole.   Barton would draw back to within six on an Unruh three at the 3:42 mark and again forty seconds later following a Robinson jumper but the Lady Cougars couldn't get over the hump as Roenfeldt's trey rimmed out with 2:20 remaining.  Alicia Brown pushed the lead back out to eight but Robinson's offensive rebound put-back kept Barton within range.  Forcing a shot clock violation with fifty-seconds to play, Barton got the ball back but a turnover ten seconds later and McClure's 1-of-2 trip to the line all but sealed Hutchinson's fifteenth straight victory in the series and eighth straight at the Barton Gym despite Unruh's pair of charity tosses with ten points on the clock.