Some portions of a schedule are tougher than others. Thanks to a make-up reshuffling earlier this year, the Barton Community College women’s basketball had about as tough a 3-game stretch as anyone in the nation will play this season.
The Cougars, as most teams would, struggled during that stretch. But since that gauntlet the schedule has eased somewhat and Barton is making some hay.
The Cougars made it two straight Saturday with a 69-52 win over Jayhawk West foe Pratt at the Barton Gym. The victory pushed the Cougars closer to the .500-mark in conference play. It also moved Barton into a tie for fourth in the West at 3-4 along with Garden City and Colby. The Cougars are 13-6 overall. Pratt fell to 2-5 and 12-9.
“After going through the gauntlet of opponents we did to open the conference season, it has been nice to get some time to rest and prepare for each team individually the last two games,” Barton Coach Carter Kruger said. “Pratt is a good team, and I thought we played very hard and executed our game plan very well.”
The trio of Hutchinson, Seward, and Butler – that 3-game stretch Barton encountered in a 5-day span – have good separation from the rest of the West. Hutchinson, the No. 1 team in the country, is a perfect 7-0 in the West while Seward, No. 6, is 6-0. Butler is 5-2 with losses to Hutch and Seward as the teams near the midway point of the West slate.
In the win Saturday on Hall of Fame day at Barton, the Cougars used a big second half to put the game away.
The Cougars lead 24-23 at half when they came out on a 10-3 run to start the second half to take a 34-26 lead five minutes in on a Kilee Harris jumper. Barton would extend it to 40-28 on a Julia Dixon bucket with 12:29 to play, capping a 16-5 run.
Pratt would counter, cutting the lead to 40-35 with a quick 7-0 run but that Cougars would immediately answer with the game’s next six points and Pratt never threatened again.
The Cougars put 45 points on the scoreboard in the second half – their highest half of West play this season. In fact it was the most points in a half since Nov. 28 when the Cougars put up 47 in the second half against Otero (Colo.) Junior College. Barton hit 15-of-26 shots in the half including 3-of-6 on treys. The Cougars had just six turnovers and out-rebounded Pratt 16-8 in a half which Barton won 45-29.
“It was nice to have a breakout half,” Coach Kruger said. “We did a really nice job of moving the ball, being aggressive at the basket, and finishing when we got open looks.”
KK Anthony led the Cougars with 21 points as the sophomore from Memphis continues her excellent season. It was the fifth time this season Anthony topped the 20-point mark. She leads Barton at 16.2 per game.
Katrina Roenfeldt added 14 and Dixon 11. McKinna Kraus led Barton with six rebounds and India Cauley had four assists to pace the Cougars.
The Cougars will wrap up the first time through the conference Wednesday in a contest against Cloud County in Concordia. It will be the first of two road games this week as Barton travels to Liberal Saturday to battle No. 6 Seward.
“One thing I like about our group is that we can play several different ways,” Coach Kruger said. “Against Pratt we had to play smaller and quicker, and Wednesday night Cloud will challenge us with a bit more size.
“Our kids have really bought into the idea that when their opportunity comes, they need to be ready. It’s always very tough to win on the road in Concordia.”