Finishing in the top half of the Jayhawk Conference usually will get a team a matchup with a team that has a losing record to start Region VI play. At least somewhere around .500.
Not the Barton women’s basketball team this year. The Cougars (16-14) will get 28-1 Northwest Tech Thursday night to open Region VI play. The contest will tip at 5:30 pm at the Barton Gym. The Barton men will play Seward following the women’s game.
“They are a good team,” Barton Coach Alan Clark said. “They are not your typical 10th seed. They are very athletic and really get after you. It is going to be a challenge for us.”
Due to Northwest Tech not being in the Jayhawk Conference like the other 14 teams in Region VI, the Mavericks are given an automatic seed before the season even begins. So no matter if Northwest Tech went 28-1 or 1-28, it would be the 10th seed.
Barton’s 13-13 conference season has seen the Cougars go 0-12 against the six teams ahead of them in the Jayhawk standings and 13-1 against those below them. The only real disappointing loss was at a Dodge City team back in early December that won just four games this season.
“You want to win every game, but at the beginning of the season, I went through our schedule and felt like we could go 20-10,” Coach Clark said. “We went 16-14 so that is about four games below where I felt we could be.
“But in the pre-season poll, we were picked 10th, so in that aspect we were better than some thought we were going to be.”
Barton is led by sophomore standout Katrina Roenfeldt. The guard from Dodge City is scoring 13.3 points a game and holds the school record for 3-pointers in a season with 90 and counting. She is the only Cougar averaging double figures. She also leads the team with 7.9 rebounds a game and 3.5 steals per contest.
Sophomores Regan Unruh (9.3) and Baylee Robinson (9.2) are close. Unruh, from Great Bend, is second in 3-pointers and third is assists. Robinson, a 6-1 transfer from Trinidad JC, is third in rebounding at 6.1
Megan Jirak is scoring 8.7 and grabbing 7.7 rebounds. Freshman Micaela Jellison has come on strong of late, scoring double figures in eight of the last 14 games, including a career-high 21-point effort in Barton regular season finale.
To be fair, the Mavericks are 5-0 against junior varsity teams and won another military team in Fort Carson. The Mavericks also beat Barclay College and went 3-0 against Brown Mackie and Hesston. Those two went a combined 2-21 against Region VI D-II foes this year. Two more wins came against the University of Colorado at Denver, a club team at the school.
So the schedule wasn’t anything like that of teams in the Jayhawk. However, there are some good wins on the slate – including two over Dodge City and two each over Colorado schools Northeastern JC, Otero, Lamar and Trinidad State.
The lone loss came back in November at the McCook Classic, where host McCook won 90-72. Earlier in the year, the Mavericks beat McCook 101-67.
Tran Brown leads the Mavericks with a 20.3 scoring average. Brown is a 5-6 guard from Florida. She is one of five Northwest Tech players to average double figures. As a team, the Mavericks score 87.3 points per game. Juliet James, a 6-0 sophomore from Nigeria, grabs 12.7 rebounds a game to go with her 11.1 scoring average.
Zoi Thompson, a 5-7 sophomore from Florida, runs the show for the Mavericks. The point guard hands out 5.2 assists and scores 11.3 per contest.
“They put up a lot of points and pressure you a little bit,” Coach Clark said. “They run the floor very well. Their starting five is pretty darn good.”
Admission is free to the final date of the season at the Barton Gym. A win and the Cougars.
Region VI Playoffs
First Round – Thursday at home sites
1 Seward (29-1) receives a bye
9 Allen County (9-21) at 8 Independence (12-18)
12 Pratt (8-22) at 5 Cloud County (21-8), 6 pm
13 Neosho County (10-20) at 4 Coffeyville (20-9), 5:30 pm
14 Dodge City (4-26) at 3 Butler (23-6), 5:30 pm
11 Garden City (10-20) at 6 Cowley (22-8), 5:30 pm
10 Northwest Tech (28-1) at 7 Barton (16-14), 5:30 pm
15 Colby (3-27) at 2 Hutchinson (29-1), 6 pm
Quarterfinals – Monday at Hartman Arena in Park City
1 Seward v Indy/Allen winner, 1 pm
Coffeyville/Neosho winner v Cloud/Pratt winner, 7 pm
Butler/Dodge winner v Cowley/Garden winner, 5 pm
Hutch/Colby winner v Barton/NW Tech winner, 3 pm
Semifinals – Tuesday at Hartman Arena
Top half winners, 3 pm
Bottom half winners, 1 pm
Finals – Wednesday at Hartman Arena
Championship game 5 pm