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Cougar women slay No. 9 Blue Dragons
Barton freshman Vanessa Oduah
Barton freshman Vanessa Oduah goes up for a layup during the Cougars season opener against Redlands Saturday night. Oduah scored 12 in her debut for Barton but the Cougars came up short in a 74-72 loss.


Special to the Tribune

DODGE CITY — Vanessa Oduah played out the fantasy of many a child. Down by two, clocking ticking down, step up and fire a 3-pointer to win the game. In the fantasy it always goes in.

Fantasy became reality for Oduah and the Barton women’s basketball team in the Region VI semifinals at the United Wireless Arena in Dodge City Monday afternoon.

Her 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left gave Barton a stunning 58-57 come-from-behind win over No. 9 Hutchinson. Oduah had missed four 3-pointers, but Hutchinson’s defender backed off and let her launch the game-winning 3-pointer.

That win propelled Barton into the Region VI title game Tuesday against Butler, a 75-70 winner over Seward County. The defending Region VI Champion nearly blew a 16-point lead on Seward but held off the Saints for a 70-65 win.. It will be Barton’s first trip to the Region VI title game since 2008.

“That was just a tremendous shot,” Coach Alan Clark said. “She stepped up with confidence and hit it.”

It sure didn’t look like the game was going to come down to a last-second shot.

Early in the second half Hutch was well on its way to a third blowout win over Barton this season.

Then something happened. The Blue Dragons went cold, Barton knocked down some treys and Uncle Mo took a seat on the Barton bench.

Down by 20 points in the opening minute of the second half, Barton rallied all the way back, eventually taking the lead in the fourth quarter.

When Brooklyn Betham scored a layup 33 seconds into the second half, Hutch led 35-15.

Enter Tiffany Dortland. The Russell freshman buried a couple treys over the next 1:30 to cut the lead to 35-23.

The run would reach 12-0 after back-to-back Richelle Turney buckets. Now its 35-27.

“When we started making the comeback you could see it in the kids eyes,” Coach Clark said. “They starting say, ‘hey, we can win this’. And that was when we were still down 10 or so.”

After a Hutch basket, the Blue Dragon would go another 3:30 without a bucket, and when Oduah hit a layup it was 37-35.

Ulabo buried a trey with 7:51 left in the game for a 46-45 lead. Hutchinson rallied and led 53-48 with 3:30 left in the game to play.

But the Cougars were not done. Not today. Not after losing to Hutchinson the last 23 times the two teams have played. Turney hit a jumper then Oduah a driving layup and suddenly it was 53-52 one minute later. Ulabo capped a 7-0 run with her second 3-pointer for a 55-53 Barton lead with 2:02 left.

Blue Dragon Abby Ogle scored on a layup off a steal to give Hutchinson a 57-55 lead with 19 seconds to play. Hutchinson had a couple fouls to waste and used them, giving Barton 5.6 seconds to get off one last shot.

Oduah took the inbounds pass, faced her defender, took a pair of dribbles and left it fly from 25-feet out to the right of the top of the circle.

It hit nothing but net and set off a quick celebration before the Cougars regained their composure as the officials placed 2.3 seconds on the clock.

A desperation 35-feet shot by Hutchinson’s Lauryn Mapusua hit high off the backboard.

“It was all the kids,” Coach Clark said. “I’m willing to bet you no team has ever come back from 20 down in the second half to a John Ontjes-coached team.”

The Cougars outscored Hutchinson 43-24 after halftime. Oduah led the Cougars with 15 points. Turney and Dortland each added 11. Ulabo finished with eight points and nine rebounds.


Barton       9    5  25  18 – 58

Hutch       12  21  11  13 – 57

BARTON (18-15)—Oduah 5-16 4-4 15, Turney 5-13 0-0 11, Dortland 3-8 2-2 11, Ulabo 3-6 0-0 8, Valentine 2-2 2-2 7,  Miller 2-2 2-2 7, Hunt 2-4 2-2 6, Willt 0-1 0-0 0, Talbott 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 20-50 10-10 58. 

HUTCHINSON (28-4)—Vannett 5-9 0-0 13, Tor’e Alford 4-12 1-2 13, Ogle 4-18 0-0 9, Betham 4-9 0-0 8, Cooper 2-2 1-2 5, Francis 2-7 0-0 4, Paniora 1-2 0-0 3, Mapusua 0-6 2-2 2, Totals 22-65 9-33 4-6 57.

3-pointers—BC 8-21 (Dortland 3-8, Ulabo 2-3, Valentine 1-1, Turney 1-3, Oduah 1-5, Willt 0-1); HCC 9-33 (Alford 4-10, Vannett 3-7, Paniora 1-1, Ogle 1-10, Francis 0-1, Mapusua 0-4). Rebounds—BC 32 (Ulabo 9); HCC (Ogle 8). Assists—BC 9 (Turney 3); HCC (Ogle 5). Steals—BC 8 (Oduah 3); HCC (Ogle). Blocks--BC 2 (Oduah 2), Hutch 3 (Betham 2).


FIRST ROUND—Neosho 84, Pratt 64; Seward 113, Allen 58; Colby 66, Indy 63 (OT); Cowley 100,  Dodge 95; Coffeyville 79, W7 Garden 65; Barton 65, E6 Cloud 52

QUARTERFINALS—Butler 88, Neosho 53; Seward 63, Colby 46; Hutchinson 69, Cowley 48; Barton 78, Coffeyville 61

SEMIFINALS—Butler 70, Seward 65; Barton 58, Hutchinson 57

FINALS—Butler (24-8) vs Barton (18-15)