SALINA – Freshman Jamie Patrick’s sixth offense rebound of the night was her biggest as she was fouled with 2.0 seconds remaining in regulation and subsequently buried two free throws to break that tie with Northwest Florida State College and propel the Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team into the Final Four for the second-straight year.
Patrick buried both free throws to cap off a career-high 25-point night and then sophomore Aja Sorrells intercepted the Raiders long inbound pass as No. 3 Hutchinson outlasted No. 5 Northwest Florida State 73-31 in the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Bicentennial Center in Salina.
Hutchinson (35-1) moves into the national semifinals for the second-straight season. That game will be a rematch of last year’s national semifinal between HCC and No. 2 Central Arizona. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday.
“It was a remarkable game,” said HCC head coach John Ontjes, who won his second Top 5 matchup this season. “Playing a great team like Northwest Florida, our kids just battled all game long. We were fortunate to be able to make the play at the end. Jamie making those two free throws was the icing on the cake for her and for the team at the finish.
Hutchinson took a 71-67 lead with 2:50 to play on Chrisstasia Walter’s spectacular three-point play. The Raiders (26-6) fought back to tie the game at 71-all and missed three chances to take the lead. The first when Tavarsha Scott couldn’t complete a three-point play with 1:04 remaining. The second was when Carla Batchelor missed two free throws with 13.5 seconds remaining.
Walter looked to have the rebound secured on the second missed free throw, but couldn’t totally control the ball. After a mad scramble, a tied possession was called and the possession arrow was pointing Hutchinson’s way.
On that final possession, Walter tried to penetrate to the basket and pulled up from about 6 feet and missed long. Patrick, who as huge on the offensive boards all game, grabbed the rebound and was fouled 2.0 seconds left. Patrick hit the first, then had to wait out two Northwest timeouts before hitting the seconds for a 73-71 lead – Hutch’s only points of the final 2 minutes, 50 seconds of the game.
Northwest Florida, out of timeouts, then tried a long inbound pass that Sorrells picked off and held on as the buzzer sounded to punch’s HCC’s ticket to the Final Four,.
“I know my team believes in me and I believe in myself to make the first one at least,” Patrick said. “Their coach then called two timeouts to try and get me out of my rhythm. I was so shaking on the bench.”
“Jamie was in the right place,” Ontjes said. “She made a play on the basketball. Chrisstasia drove it in. She tried to get and get it as deep as she could. We were fortunate to get an offensive rebound and that was the key in the game.”
Patrick finished the game with a career-high 25 points, tying a career high with 4 of 6 from the 3-point line. She had eight rebounds, six were offensive boards and she scored after four of those offensive rebounds.
That worked helped Hutchinson build a huge 46-28 rebounding advantage. HCC grabbed 22 offensive boards and had a decisive 19-4 advantage in second-chance points.
Walter had another great postseason game with 18 points – hitting three 3-point goals, – nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. With her second assist of the game, Walter became the first player in Lady Dragon history to have 200 assists in a season.
Sophomore Jasmine Patterson had 12 points and six rebounds. Freshman Jade Herl finished with nine points on three 3-point goals.
The Lady Dragons shot 37.9 percent from the field (25 of 66) with a season-high 11 3-point goals on 24 attempts and 12 of 17 from the foul line. HCC turned the ball over 18 times.
Northwest Florida State scored the most points by an HCC opponent this season and became the first team in 99 games to shoot at lead 50 percent (25 of 50). The Raiders his seven 3-pointers in the game, but only one in the second half, one 20 attempts. NWFS was 14 of 22 from the foul line.
Scott had 18 of her 23 team-high points in the second half. She added eight rebounds. Luiana Livuto added 19 points and Kiani Parker had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.
“They have speed and they have strength, but I always believed that we would win in the end,” Walter said.
“They hardly missed any shots in the first half,” Herl said. We were sagging off a couple and they just stepped up and made shots. Hopefully they were going to cool off and they never did. We just got enough stops to win.”
Hutchinson saw two nine-point leads quickly disappear, once in each half.
The Lady Dragons led 15-6 with 14:37 left to play in the first half. Northwest quickly reversed that deficit with a 12-0 run over the next two minutes to lead 18-15 with 11:39 to play in the half. A Walter 3-pointer and Sorrells putback reclaimed the lead for Hutchinson.
Tied at 24-all, the Lady Dragons closed the first half on a 19-12 run, hitting eight first-half 3-pointers.
“We had to shoot the ball well from the perimeter to even have a chance to win the game because baskets were hard to come by around the rim tonight,” Ontjes said.
Patrick’s basket just 34 seconds into the second half gave HCC its second nine-point lead of 45-36. HCC forced five turnovers on Northwest’s first five possessions of the second half, but couldn’t cash in missing several layuyps or short putbacks early in the second half.
Northwest shot 61.9 percent (13 of 21) and took a 52-49 lead with 11:58 to play. The Lady Dragons responded with a Sorrells outback and a Patterson fast-break layup to reclaim the lead at 53-53 with 11:04 remaining.
The Lady Dragons kept holding off Northwest charges for the remainder of the game. Tied at 65-65, Patrick buried her fourth 3-pointer with 3:28 to go to give HCC a 68-65 lead. The Raiders answered with a two-pointer and Walter then created and then converted a wild three-point play to go up 71-67 with 2:49 to play.
Those were the last Blue Dragon points of the game until Patrick’s late game heroics with 2 seconds remaining.
GAME NOTES – Hutchinson is now 9-5 all time in the NJCAA Tournament and 3-0 in the quarterfinal round. … This was the closest margin of victory in tournament play. … The 71 points allowed is the third most in HCC tournament history. … HCC’s 35 season wins are one win a away from last year’s 36-1 record-breaking bunch. …This was the 71st win by the Sophomores. … HCC is 2-0 in NJCAA poll Top five matches this season… John Ontjes is 22-7 vs. ranked opponents at HCC. … This was the first-ever meeting between HCC and Northwest Florida State. … Chrisstasia Walter moved up to sixth in career steals with 138. She is already the single-season steals leader. … Jamie Patrick has 63 3-point goals this season. … The Lady Dragons how have 2,746 points for the season, which is 19 points away from breaking a team record. … The 2013 Lady Dragons became the second team in HCC history to reach 1,000 field goals with 1,222. … HCC is up to fourth in 3-pointers (195), up to third in total rebounds (1,560), up to second in assists (952) and is tied for fourth in total blocks (136). … Jasmine Patterson is up to 17th on the career scoring list with 750 points. … The only two teams in the last three years – South Plains and Northwest Florida – to shoot 50 percent have been right at 50 percent. That means an opponent hasn’t better than 50 percent in 218 games. …HCC is 33-1 when lading at halftime.
(By Steve Carpenter, HCC Sports Information Director)
Head Coach John Ontjes
On the HCC rebounding …
“To only give them six offensive rebounds and out-rebound them by 18 way whey we were in the ball game.
On the role players …
They had some kids step and step up and make some shots for them. We never backed down. We kept our composure and we are moving on to the Final Four.
On the competitive nature of the team .
We have a very cohesive group, a very competitive ground. Each one of those kids understand their role and they love to win.
Freshman Jamie Patrick
On final minute of the game …
I thought that I ruined the game because I fouled the girl right at the end. It was the stupidest move that I fouled her. I was so nervous. We stayed with it and kept going.”
On the early hot outside shooting …
“We know that we are good shooters and you can’t let one miss get you down. You have to keep stepping up and taking open shots you get from your teammates.”
On playing in the national tournament …
“It’s always more fun playing than sitting the stands. The team last year was amazing and they did so well. I just want to carry on and be a part of the Hutch team.
Sophomore Jade Herl
On Jamie Patrick and the final free throws …
“I was really confident that she was going to make them. I am usually her partner when we work on them and she hardly ever misses, so I was confident she was going to make both of them and she did.”
On where this ranks in exciting games for her career …
“This is at the top. Going back and forth with a team and they get a lead by two and we come down and make a basket. People stepped up and made shots and we got stops on defense. I was one of the most exciting games I have played in.”
Sophomore Chrisstasia Walter
On the final play …
“I was hoping they don’t any half-court shot at the end. I was thinking that we have it, we just had to make one more stop.”
On returning to the Final four …
“It feels good being a part of something like this. Some girls might not get a chance. We just want to live for tomorrow and keep pushing.”
On Jamie Patrick and the final free throws …
“I had confidence in her.”