It took all 16 games to secure but the Barton Community College women’s basketball earned a home playoff game this weekend. Barton put it in the books with an 86-79 win over Cloud County Wednesday night at the Barton Gym in the regular season finale.
With the win Barton finished fourth in the Jayhawk West with an 8-8 mark. Barton is 23-6 overall. As it turned out the Cougars finished two games clear of fifth as Pratt, the lone team that could have caught Barton, lost at Colby Wednesday.
In the process sophomore Phikala Anthony put her name at the top of the Barton record book for free throws made in a season.
“This is the team that we hope continues to show up on a day-by-day basis,” Barton Coach Carter Kruger said. “We were hungry, tough, and competed every possession.”
The Cougars will now reap the benefits of that fourth spot with a home playoff game Saturday against Northwest Tech.
“Considering it’s the first time we’ve played at home since the 2010-11 year, it’s something we are definitely proud of,” Coach Kruger said. “We need to use our home court advantage and play well.”
Barton rode the strong play of Anthony to the win. Not only did the 5-8 Memphis product post highs with 29 points and 13 rebounds – she produced at the most important moments of the game.
Barton was clinging to a 66-64 lead with 5:44 to play when Anthony stepped it up. A pair of free throws followed by a jumper gave the Cougars a 70-64 lead.
After Cloud rallied to cut it to 72-70 she knocked down another jumper, grabbed a defensive rebound and converted a 3-point play to make it 77-70.
She then closed out the final minute by hitting 4-of-4 from the free throw line. The game featured 10 ties and seven lead changes before Anthony took over late.
“Kay Kay definitely played one of her better games offensively and defensively – which was maybe even more important,” Coach Kruger said. “Overall, I thought our whole team did a better job of making plays down the stretch of a close game than we did the last time out.”
Anthony finished the night 15-of-16 from the free throw line. The 15 made free throws was one short of a school record. She passed Wendy Okeson for most free throws made it a season with 154. Okeson made 153 during the 1999-00 season. Anthony is second all-time with 228 made free throws. Okeson leads in that category with 253.
The 29 points was a career-high for Anthony, besting a 27-point effort against Trinidad State. The 13 rebounds was one shy of a career-best mark. She also led Barton with five assists.
Indiah Cauley added 19 points and 11 rebounds while Ciera Lampe netted 13. It was the third straight game Lampe has scored double figures.
The focus turns to Northwest Tech – a team Barton handled in Goodland earlier this year 91-51. But Coach Kruger isn’t going to let that 40-point margin fool his team. Barton used a 62-21 second half to win the contest.
“Northwest Tech will be a challenge,” Coach Kruger said. “We played them in November and we were behind at halftime, so we certainly are going to have to play well to win Saturday and advance to Wichita.”
The game will tip at 5:30 pm Saturday at the Barton Gym and precede the men’s game against Cloud. Admission to the game is free.
The winner will advance Koch Arena and a March 4 quarterfinal matchup with the winner of Coffeyville (22-8) and Dodge City (10-20).