There an old say ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’.
It kind of describes the Barton women’s basketball team at the Region VI Tournament.
Fresh of handing Northwest Tech just its second loss of the season, the Cougars are set to take on another team with just a single loss.
But this team is ranked No. 2 in the nation.
Barton will have to get through No. 2 Hutchinson and its 30-1 record if the Cougars want a spot in the semifinals of the tournament.
Barton and Hutchinson will be the second game of the day Monday afternoon at Hartman Arena in Park City, just north of Wichita. The contest will tip at approximately 3 pm.
“We can’t make very many mistakes,” Barton Coach Alan Clark said of his team’s quarterfinal game. “Our margin for error is obviously very slim. A team like Hutch will make you pay for every mistake you make.”
It will be a game the Cougars will be playing with house money. Nearly everyone thinks it’s just a mere formality for all schools not named Hutchinson and Seward County on the way to the championship game.
After all, Seward is ranked No. 4 in the country and is 29-1. The only losses for two of the top four teams in the nation are to each other.
But don’t tell the Barton women.
The Cougars played the Blue Dragons to a 5-point game at the Barton Gym back in December. In the rematch at the Sports Arena in January, Barton led a good portion of the first half. Barton led 24-23 with less than four minutes to play in the first half.
Eventually, Hutch slowly pulled away from Barton, winning by 19 points.
“We don’t feel like they are invincible,” Coach Clark said. “We think we know how to play them and try to take away the things they like to do.
“But it will be entirely different that the win over Northwest Tech. We didn’t have much trouble scoring against them but Hutch will make you work for everything you get. That is what they do. They make you find ways to score.”
The Hutch-Barton winner will get the winner of the Butler-Cowley game in the semifinals. Butler, the 3rd seed, rolled by Dodge City by an 86-57 score. Cowley, the 6th seed, had an even easier time against Garden City, winning 112-51.
All the higher seeds won in the opening round and only the Barton win was close. Independence, the No. 8 seed, rolled by Allen County, 58-35, to set up a quarterfinal final date with Seward.
Coffeyville and Cloud County will play in the top half of the bracket as well. Coffeyville, the 4th seed, won 81-46 over Neosho and Cloud, the 5th seed, won 76-44 over Pratt.
Region VI Playoffs
Thursday at home sites
1 Seward (29-1) receives a bye
8 Independence 58, 9 Allen 35
5 Cloud County 76, 12 Pratt 44
4 Coffeyville 81, 13 Neosho County 46
3 Butler 86, 14 Dodge 57
6 Cowley 112, 11 Garden 51
7 Barton 85, 10 Northwest Tech 81 (OT)
2 Hutchinson 101, 15 Colby 37
Quarterfinals – Monday at Hartman Arena in Park City
1 Seward (29-1) v 8 Indy (13-18), 1 pm
4 Coffeyville (22-9) v 5 Cloud (22-8), 7 pm
3 Butler (24-6) v 6 Cowley (23-8), 5 pm
2 Hutch (30-1) v 7 Barton (17-14), 3 pm
Semifinals – Tuesday
at Hartman Arena
Seward/Indy winner v Coffeyville/Cloud winner, 3 pm
Hutch/Barton winner v Butler/Cowley winner, 1 pm
Finals – Wednesday
at Hartman Arena
Championship game 5 pm