It came down to the wire and a freshman delivered the big shot as the Barton Community College women's basketball team prevailed on a last second three-pointer for a 54-51 win Saturday night at the Barton Gym over Independence Community College.
Winning their lone home conference game of the fall semester, the Cougars improve to 2-1 in Jayhawk play and 8-2 overall in dropping Independence to 1-3 and 6-5 on the year. Barton will wind up the semester with a trip to Neosho County Community College (1-2, 4-9) on Monday for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off.
Having their four point lead erased in the final ninety-seconds, Barton inbounded in their own territory to freshman Conner Keith for the final eight seconds. Taking the pass near mid-court, Keith dribbled around to the top of the key around a Mallory Miller screen to step-back and launch a perfect three-pointer as the Hill City native sent the Barton bench into a frenzy on the three point lead. Following a Pirate timeout, the Cougar defense wouldn't allow a Pirate shot in the final 2.3 seconds in securing the win.
Keith's career high eleven points led the Cougars knocking down 3-of-6 behind the arc after pressed into playing the final sixteen minutes as starter Jaylin Stapleton left the contest in the third on a non-serious injury. Irene Chukwudi led the inside game with ten points and six rebounds with Taylor Regan adding nine points and eight boards helping Barton to a slim two rebound advantage.
Brittany Reeves was the lone Pirate into double digits scoring twelve points while hauling down a team high seven boards and dishing out three assists.
A 6-0 run gave Independence a first quarter lead of five as single free throws by Stapleton and Kolby Davis cut the margin to five by the end of the frame. Despite both teams shooting just 32% in the first twenty minutes of the game, the Pirates managed to control the action as six straight would push the lead out to their largest lead of nine with 6:32 to play before have. Getting a Keith three pointer and a running jumper in the paint, Barton closed to with four midway through the frame. Independence managed just a free throw to half the run before Miller and Chukwudi buckets cut the gap to one with three minutes remaining only to have the Pirates close out with the final four for a 24-19 halftime edge.
The Pirates put the first two on the board coming out of the locker room but beginning with a Ryen White three pointer and ending with a slash to the hoop, Barton tied it up at twenty-six. Five straight Pirate free throws took the margin to five before Barton answered with six charity throws put the Cougars in front 35-34 to the final quarter.
Richelle Turney and Chukwudi pushed Barton's lead out to its largest of six points with 7:18 to play and again with 3:36 to play following Regan's three point conversion and a pair of D'Shonda Hunt free throws. The Pirates surged back with an 8-2 run and following a Turney miss from beyond the arc, had a chance to take the lead but Macie Price's trey attempt missed its mark with Regan securing the rebound setting up Keith's heroics.