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It will be over one month when Cougars resume play

POSTED December 20, 2011 11:08 p.m.

Here’s something for the unbeaten Barton Community College men’s basketball team to ponder as they prepare for the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Western Division portion of their schedule:
Preseason Western Division favorite Seward will already have a couple games under their belt, when it invades Kirkman Activity Center on Wednesday, Jan. 4, to take on Barton to open conference play.
The Cougars, 14-0 and ranked No. 7 in the latest National Junior College Athletics Association Division-I poll, will return from the Christmas break next Tuesday to resume practices. They haven’t played a game since beating Brown Mackie 85-73 on Dec. 3, so it will be over a month when Barton hits the hardwood at home against Liberal-based Seward.
“One disadvantage is that Seward is one of only a few teams in our league that is playing games before conference,” Barton head coach Craig Fletchall said. “They’re actually playing in a tournament around New Year’s, so they’re going to have two games under their belt, so they really have an advantage that most teams don’t.”
Seward (10-2) will be taking part in the Neosho New Year’s Classic in Chanute on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 30-31. The only other West team in action on New Year’s weekend is 10th-ranked Hutchinson (13-1), which plays at Lon Morris, Texas.
“I don’t know if (the game will be) a barometer because obviously Seward is going to have a couple games under their belt.”
Penetrating freshman guard Algie Key has been a driving force for the Cougars in the preseason. The 6-foot-3 Decatur, Ga., native led the team in scoring (18.7 points per game), assists (87) and steals (25) while ranking second on the team with 108 rebounds.
“I think he’s put up freshman-of-the-year-type of numbers and yet, he’s going to be a marked man now,” Fletchall said of Key. “I think when people see how poorly we shot from the perimeter (50 for 188 through the first 14 games for 26.6 percent), Algie is going to get everybody’s best shot.”
Guard Turon Parker, a 6-1 freshman from Canton, Ohio, is likely to be back on the court in early January after suffering a knee injury during the opening three minutes of the sixth game of the season.
Fletchall said Parker could be a shot in the arm for a team that has struggled shooting from the perimeter. And, that’s not all.
“The great thing about Turon is in six games, he has 30 assists and four turnovers, which is uncanny,” Fletchall said. “From a ball-handling standpoint, it’s going to be huge for us.”



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