One loss, more than others, was more stinging to the Barton Community College basketball team in conference play. Four of the five losses came to the top three teams in the Jayhawk West – teams that have only lost to each other.
But the loss at home to Garden City was out of place. After all, Garden City was 3-7 in the West and 12-13 overall.
Saturday the Cougars got some revenge for that setback. Barton traveled to Garden City and rolled by the Broncbusters, 66-46, to even the score with Busters.
“You have to give all the credit in the world to our players,” Barton coach Carter Kruger said. “We came out focused on both ends, built a big lead, and showed great fortitude in never letting Garden back into the game.”
The win kept the Cougars solidly in fourth place in the Jayhawk West at 6-5 while Garden fell to 3-8. The Cougars are now 16-7 overall. That gives Barton a 2-game lead on the final home playoff spot as three teams hover behind with seven losses.
“It was a huge win for us,” Coach Kruger said. “We now are in control as far as earning a home playoff game for the first time in four years. Our coaching staff and team kind of approached the game with a playoff-mentality, so to perform so well is a great sign going forward.”
Barton wasted little time in gaining control in the win. The Cougars shot out of the starting gate on a 13-1 run in the opening five minutes. Barton extended it to 26-5 with seven minutes left in the opening.
The margin would prove to be too much for Garden City to overcome. There were some brief, small challenges but nothing that put too big of a scare in the Cougars.
Garden cut it to 35-24 at the half even got it as low as nine on a few occasions in the second half.
The final time came at the midway point of the second half. After McKinna Kraus converted a 3-point play with a free throw to make it 49-37 the game would not get into single digits the rest of the way.
KK Anthony tossed in 23 points to pace Barton in the win. The Memphis sophomore hit 8-of-12 field goals and topped 20 points for the sixth time this season. Anthony also led Barton with nine rebounds. Kraus joined her in double figures as the Hutchinson sophomore hit all five field goal attempts on her way to 13 points.
The Cougars hit 13-of-17 free throws paced by a combined 9-of-11 effort from Anthony and Kraus. Barton was just shy of 50 percent shooting from the field at 24-of-50. The Cougars were 5-of-11 on 3-pointer led by a 3-for-4 night from Dodge City freshman Katrina Roenfeldt. Miscues continued to hamper the Cougars, turning it over 20 times.
Loysha Morris was the lone Broncbuster to reach double figures with 18. Garden hit just 26 percent from the floor and were out-rebounded by Barton 31-21.
Barton will now face two of the top teams in the conference. The Cougars played Butler last night and will travel to Hutchinson Wednesday to take on the No. 1 team in the nation in the unbeaten Blue Dragons.