[ By STEVE CARPENTER ]
[ BLUE DRAGON SPORTS INFORMATION ]
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — It took a while, but the Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team finished strong Wednesday night to put away a resilient Northwest Kansas Tech team.
Leading by only 10 points after three quarters to the winless Mavericks, the No. 10-ranked Blue Dragons flexed their muscle in a dominant fourth quarter to rebounded from Saturday’s loss to Seward County in a 100-69 Jayhawk West win over Northwest Tech at the Sports Arena.
The Blue Dragons improve to 23-1 overall and remain tied with Seward County for first place in the Jayhawk West at 14-1. The Dragons sweep the season series with Northwest Tech, which falls to 0-23 and 0-15.
For three quarters on Wednesday, the Blue Dragons’ couldn’t pull away from Northwest Tech. The Mavericks led 35-34 with 1:57 to play in the second quarter. Back-to-back Keeley Tini baskets and a Makayla Vannett 3-pointer helped Hutch take a 41-38 halftime lead.
The Blue Dragons scored the first 11 points of the third quarter to lead 52-38 with 7:38 remaining in the period. But powered by the three-pronged attack of N’Dea Flye, Josie Cook and Jybre Johnson – those three players combined for 53 points – the Mavericks stayed within striking distance. Hutch led 70-60 after three periods.
An 8-1 start to the fourth quarter finally upped the Blue Dragon lead to 16 points. The Dragons then held Northwest Tech without a field goal for the final 6:04 of the game. The Dragons knocked down 9 of 17 shots in the fourth to outscore the Mavericks 30-9 in the final 10 minutes to pull away.
Sophomore Dejanae Roebuck came back strong from a sub-par night against Seward County on Saturday with her 20th career double-double (sixth this season) with 23 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Roebuck was 8 of 13 shooting, including a 3-pointer.
Roebuck became the 17th Blue Dragon to reach 800 career points (821) and moved into 10th place on the Blue Dragon career rebounding list with 498 career boards.
Tini scored a career-high 20 points on 9 of 12 shooting with five rebounds.
Jada Mickens became the 30th Blue Dragon to reach the 700 career-point mark with 15 points and nine rebounds. Mickens was 9 of 13 from the free-throw line. Mickens now has 711 career points.
All 12 Blue Dragons to suit up scored on Wednesday. Tijuana Kimbro and Vannett had eight points each. Milan Schimmel dished out a career-best eight assists.
The Blue Dragons finished the game 34 of 72 shooting (47.2 percent), hitting 6 of 25 from 3-point range and 26 of 34 free throws. The Dragons dominated the boards, outrebounding Northwest Tech 50-26 with 20 offensive rebounds. The Dragons had 23 assists on 34 made baskets and 12 steals.
Northwest Tech’s Flye posted opponent individual season highs of 26 points, nine assists and seven steals to lead the Mavericks. Cook had 15 points, followed by Johnson with 12 and Kiara Tharpe with 10.
The Mavericks shot 40.7 percent, just the fourth team to shoot 40 percent or better this season against Hutchinson, hitting 24 of 59 total shots. Tech was 6 of 19 from 3-point range and 15 of 23 from the foul line. Northwest Tech had 19 turnovers, but had 13 steals.
Hutchinson is in the midst of another stretch of four games in eight days. The Blue Dragons are on the road for the next two – Saturday at Garden City (2 p.m.) and Monday at Pratt.
GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are 3-1 all-time vs. Northwest Tech. Northwest Tech’s losing streak was extended to 24 games. This was all-time Blue Dragon win No. 966. This was Hutch’s fifth 100-point game of the season. The 30-point fourth quarter was the fifth time Hutch scored 30 or more points in a single quarter. The Blue Dragons owns a 52-24 advantage in points in the paint and a 22-5 advantage in second-chance points. Hutch’s bench outscored Northwest Tech’s 44-6.