There would be no looking past the opening round opponent. Not for the Barton men’s basketball team. Not when traditional power Coffeyville came to the Barton Gym to open Region VI post-season action.
For Coffeyville it was the first time long-time coach Jay Herkleman had to go on the road for first round action. That is 21 years worth of coaching.
Add in it had been three years since Barton won a first game and you knew it wasn’t going to be easy for the Cougars.
It wasn’t. Coffeyville used a 10-0 run midway through the first half to take control of the game then held off a furious Barton rally late for a 66-63 win in Region VI first round action.
“We just missed our chances,” Coach Craig Fletchall said. “We just got down too many. We were able to get some stops, but we just couldn’t close the gap until late in the game.
“It seemed like there was a lid on our basket for a long time. We played pretty good defense in the second half and kept at it. That gave us a chance to win.”
Coffeyville will advance to quarterfinal Region VI play Sunday at 5 pm against Neosho County at Hartman Arena in Wichita.
The Red Ravens started the year ranked No. 9 nationally, but never found its stride. It finally happened Thursday at the Barton Gym.
Barton got off to a 10-5 lead. The Cougars played from in front for much of the early portion of the game but Coffeyville caught Barton at 20-all with 8:30 to play in the opening half.
Coffeyville continued to knock down 3’s, taking a 30-22 lead, capping a 10-0 run on a Darrion Strong layup with 4:40 to play.
The Red Ravens went to half on top 35-26 on the strength of eight 3-pointers.
Coffeyville started the second half with two more 3-pointers to take its biggest lead of the game at 41-26.
Barton had several chances to get the under 10 points as Coffeyville went more than four minutes with only two points. But the Cougars scored just five during that stretch themselves and trailed 45-31 with 14 minutes left after Coffeyville finally broke their drought.
Barton continued to hold the Red Ravens from scoring and finally got it under 10 on a putback by Anthony Smith with 10 minutes left in the half at 45-37.
Coffeyville answered with the next seven points to push the lead back to 15 points.
But Barton didn’t go away. The Cougars got it down to 52-41 and had two chances to get the score to single digits but came up empty.
The Cougars finally got things rolling with an 8-0 run capped by a Ezekiel Charles trey in front of the Barton bench to make it 56-51 with 4:18 to play.
The next trip down Dequandre Dentmond took a nice feed from Derek Dorn to convert a layup and it was suddenly 56-53.
After a Red Raven bucket, Dorn hit his own 3-pointer to make it 58-56 with 2:55 to play. Anthony Smith kept Barton within a pair on a putback to cut it to 60-58 with two minutes to play.
Barton tied the game 61-all on another 3-pointer by Dorn with 1:10 left to play and Barton had came all the way back from 15 down.
A pair of free throws gave the Red Ravens the lead back. Charles had a 3-pointers to give Barton its first lead since midway through the opening half but it came up short with 35 seconds left.
Smith kept Barton the game with a layup with 16 seconds left to make it 65-63.
Coffeyville missed a chance to put the game away at the free throws, hitting just 1-of-2 with 11.8 seconds left.
Charles got a good look from the left corner, but his jumper to tie the game bounded off. Barton was able to get the rebound but couldn’t get another shot off.
Barton was led by Charles and Tyrone Acuff with 13 points each. Dorn added 10. Dentmond had 10 rebounds for the Cougars.
Coffeyville was led by Delano Spencer with 18. Strong, who has signed to play for Oklahoma next season, added 15.
Several upsets were the theme in the opening round as No. 2 Pratt and No. 4 Dodge City both lost in addition to No. 6 Barton.
Barton season ends at 18-13.
“Its always tough to end the season,” Coach Fletchall said. “I like this bunch of kids. They are a good group.”