It wasn’t the easiest way to tip off a season with a lot of new players – taking on the 11th ranked team in the country. But that was the task of the Barton Community College women’s basketball team this weekend.
The Cougars lost that opener 73-59 to No. 11 Northern Oklahoma-Enid but bounced back with a 68-58 win over North Central Missouri College at the Best Western/Pizza Hut Classic at the Barton Gym.
“It was a great weekend to get our team’s feet wet against some really good competition,” Barton coach Carter Kruger said. “Hopefully we will grow from the experiences we gained and continue to progress as our season heats up.
“Our inexperience really showed over stretches in the two games, especially on the defensive end. We are relying on a lot of freshmen who – if they grow up quickly – will help us win many more games down the road.”
The season started with Barton jumping out to an 11-2 lead against the Jets. That, however, was followed by a 13-0 from Enid, giving the visitors a 15-11 lead. The teams continued to trade the lead for most of the opening half. The contest was still tied at 29-all following a Ciera Lampe jumper with 3:37 to play in the half but Enid closed on an 8-2 run to take a 37-31 halftime lead.
The Jets quickly pushed it to double figures to start the second half, taking a 46-33 lead three minutes in. The lead stayed between 9-14 points the remainder of the contest as Barton dropped its opener.
“I thought we had a great effort and played extremely hard, but we made numerous mental errors that cost us a chance to win the game,” Coach Kruger said of the opener. “All those errors are fixable, and if we work hard in practice we will make those changes.”
Dodge City freshman guard Katrina Roenfeldt and Phikala Anthony each scored 11 to lead the Cougars with Lampe adding nine. Breck Clark scored 24 to lead the Jets paced by an 11-of-13 effort at the free throw line.
Saturday the Cougars played from in front the entire way. Another hot start gave the Cougars a 6-1 lead and Barton would lead the entire way. The spread reached double figures when Anthony hit a layup off a feed from Brandi Williams for a 17-6 lead.
The Pirates stayed around, though, cutting the lead to 26-22 with 3:15 to play in the half. The Cougars responded with a 9-0 run to end the half capped by a Lampe 3-pointer for a 37-22 lead at intermission. The lead grew to 20 early in the second half.
Barton was in control the rest of the way despite a late rally by Pirates that cut the lead to 62-56 with 1:44 to play. Barton made 6-of-6 from there to secure the win.
Anthony, a sophomore from Memphis, paced a trio of Cougars in double figures with 15 followed by Roenfeldt with 13. Keneisha Winfrey, a freshman from Mississippi, added 11.
“It’s always great to get that first win,” Coach Kruger said. “It’s a culmination of a long fall of hard work. We still have to make daily improvements so that we improve to the level where we can be competitive in our conference.”
“I want to thank the Best Western and Pizza Hut for providing us with the opportunity to host such a top-notch classic.”
The Cougars will travel to Dodge City for a pair of games this weekend in the Dodge City Classic. Barton will take on the Tabor College JV Friday at 1 p.m., followed by a contest with Fort Scott Community College Saturday at 1 p.m.