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Barton readies for opener

POSTED December 29, 2011 11:21 p.m.

It will be a first for Craig Fletchall.
“I have never done this before, so we’re kind of rolling the dice,” said Fletchall, Barton Community College’s head men’s basketball coach, of his team meeting Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Eastern Division powerhouse Coffeyville in a scrimmage.
“We’re going to meet Coffeyville halfway and scrimmage them at Newman University in Wichita on Saturday. I think that it will knock some of the rust off. That will be good for us in playing a good team.”
In previous seasons, the Cougars, currently 14-0 and ranked No. 7 in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association Division-I poll, scheduled scrimmages in October — long before the start of the season opener, let alone the KJCCC Western Division portion of their schedule. Barton entertains Seward County on Wednesday night in the conference opener at 8, preceded by the women’s game at 6.
“It’s obviously not going to be the same as playing a real game,” said Fletchall of taking on Coffeyville, a perennial powerhouse. “We weren’t able to schedule anything, and this was the next-best thing. It will kind of break up the two-a-days.
“We’re allowed four scrimmages during the year and we usually play them all in October, but (Coffeyville head coach Jay) Herkelman and I decided to save one and do something different this year. We’re just trying to mix things up a little bit.”
The Cougars have been having two-a-day practices since returning on Wednesday. They have had 2 p.m. shootarounds daily at the Panther Athletic Center on the Great Bend High School campus, followed by a full practice at 8 at Kirkman Activity Center.
“The way with our gym is set up, with only two baskets, we never feel like we get enough shooting in and thanks to Great Bend High School, we’ve been able to make use of their facilities in the afternoon,” Fletchall said.
“It’s not uncommon at this level to do that. You don’t want to get the guys hurt, but the reality of it is, they have a lot of idle time on their hands being in the dorms with no school.”

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