Finding a pace that Neosho County Community College couldn’t contend with, the Barton Cougars ran the Panthers into the ground during a first-round game of the NJCAA Region VI basketball playoffs.
Barton routed Neosho County 95-73 on Wednesday night at Kirkman Activity Center to advance to Sunday’s quarterfinals at Hartman Arena in Park City.
“As far as the game plan, that was performed well on our team’s part,” Barton head coach Craig Fletchall said. “We established the pace and we wanted it to be a track meet.
“I think their bigs were tough and I don’t think we’ve seen size like that score like that very often this season.”
The Cougars (25-6) will play seventh-ranked Coffeyville on Sunday. The game time for Sunday has yet to be determined. Coffeyville defeated Pratt 82-60 on Wednesday night.
Sophomore power forward Dwayne Brunson poured in 10 of 12 shots from the field and finished with a game-high 21 points in his final home game.
“The thing with Dwayne is that he had three vertebrae out in his back and he was in a lot of pain today,” Fletchall said. “We weren’t sure if he was going to play.
“He got some treatment and he’s going to be sore for a couple days. The guy has played well in the playoffs and last year, he pretty much carried us at Cowley (in a season-ending loss).
“He plays well in big games.”
Sophomore swingman Julian Rose came off the bench again to spark the Cougars, pouring in 13 of his 20 points in the second half, as they pulled away after leading 50-38 at halftime.
“He just does so many things,” Fletchall said of Rose. “He’s a big reason why we’ve had the success that we’ve had.
“The thing that doesn’t show up in the boxscore is the toughness and the inspiration that he brings daily. He’s our best talker and it’s nice for him to put up some numbers, as well.”
Neosho County was led by 6-foot-11 center Gregoryshon Magee with 17 points. Chris Patton, a 6-10 post player, added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Raymond Jeter also scored 14 for the Panthers (17-14).
Freshman guards Turon Parker and Kurt Walker also finished in double figures for the Cougars, scoring 16 and 11 points, respectively. Parker and Walker were a collective 7 for 10 on 3-pointers, including 3 for 3 from Walker and 4 for 7 from Parker.
A barrage of 3-pointers rained down during first-half action, where Barton built a 50-38 halftime lead.
Parker nailed a trio of 3s in the first half and Walker was 2 for 2 on 3s, as the Cougars knocked down 6 of 10 from long distance in the opening 20 minutes.
Neosho County’s Raymond Jeter hit all three of his 3-point attempts in the first half and finished with 11 first-half points. Patton also had 11 first half.
The Panthers finished the half 3 for 8 on 3s.
Walker’s second 3-pointer with 37.7 seconds left in the half to made it 48-38. Neosho’s Brison White then inexplicably fired up a three-quarters-of-the-length 3-pointer after thinking the half was about to expire and the Cougars got the ball out of bounds.
Barton then worked the game clock down before Walker assisted Brunson for a short-range bucket with 2.3 seconds left in the half for its 12-point lead.
“The biggest two-minute stretch was when they cut it to seven late in the first half,” Fletchall said. “Kurt hit a 3 and Dwayne scored right before the buzzer. I think that carried us with some momentum going into halftime.
“Let’s be honest. We’ve hit the lull at the half before … at Hutch, at home against Sewart and at home against Cloud. We haven’t come out with that same fight (in the second half) and I challenged our guys to win that first few minutes and we got it up to 20 in a hurry.”
Brunson hit five of his first six shots from the floor and finished the opening half with 11 points. All nine of Parker’s first-half points came on 3s.
Leading 10-8 early on, the Cougars went on a 7-2 surge for a 17-10 advantage with 12:49 remaining in the first half.
As Neosho County sat back in its 2-3 zone defense, the Cougars were making the extra pass to get open shots.
Julian Rose started the run with a 3-pointer from the deep right corner, Brunson hit a baseline jumper off a Rose assist and then Carl Wallace scored off a Algie Key feed.
The Panthers answered with a 3 from Raymond Jeter to close the margin to 17-13, but Barton answered with Parker drilling third 3-pointer, Kurt Walker nailing in a trey and Jonathan Pittman popping in a baseline jumper at the 10-minute mark to stretch Barton to 30-15.
Jeter hit back-to-back 3s to close the gap to 30-21 with 8 ½ minutes left before halftime, prompting Fletchall to call a timeout.
With the Cougars leading 32-21, Brunson converted 1 of 2 free throws and scored baskets on three straight possessions to build the margin to 39-28. After a Panthers basket, Key scored inside for a 41-30 edge at the 4:59 mark.
Barton maintained that lead the remainder of the half.
NJCAA Region VI
At Great Bend
Kirkman Activity Center
Barton 95, Neosho County 73
NEOSHO COUNTY (17-14)
Brett Jones 1-6 0-0 2, Gregoryshon Magee 7-9 3-4 17, Chris Patton 4-12 6-10 14, Tyler Hickert 3-4 1-1 7, Brison White 2-7 0-0 4, Jerry Sipple 2-4 0-0 6, Raymond Jeter 5-9 0-0 14, Thomas Drew 0-1 0-0 0, Bryce Newton 3-6 0-0 9. Totals 27-61 10-15 73.
Turon Parker 5-12 2-2 16, Algie Key 5-9 2-3 12, Dwayne Brunson 10-12 1-2 21, Carl Wallace 2-6 1-4 5, Darius Hill 1-2 0-0 2, Jonathan Pittman 2-6 0-0 4, Kurt Walker 3-4 2-2 11, Andell Cumberbatch 2-6 0-0 4, Shaka Thomas 0-2 0-0 0, Julian Rose 9-13 0-1 20, DaVonte Grant 0-1 0-0 0.Totals 39-73 8-14 95.
Halftime — Barton 50, Neosho County 38. Three-point goals — Barton 9-17 (Parker 4-7, Walker 3-3, Rose 2-3, Cumberbatch 0-2, Thomas 0-1); Neosho County 9-22 (Jeter 4-5, Newton 3-5 Sipple 2-3, Smith 0-3, White 0-2, Jones 0-2, Drew 0-1, Magee 0-1). Rebounds — Barton 41 (Key 10, Cumberbatch 8); Neosho County 33 (Patton 9, Magee 7). Assists — Barton 27 (Parker 5, Key 5); Neosho County 18 (White 6). Turnovers — Neosho County 17, Barton 12.
NJCAA Region VI tournament
Independence 75, Colby 46
Seward County 100, Allen 38
Butler 68, Coffeyville 52
Garden City 71, Kansas City 47
Cowley 69, Pratt 39
Cloud County 71, Neosho County 44
Labette 69, Barton 63, OT
Hutchinson 85, Fort Scott 43
Coffeyville 82, Pratt 60
Barton 95, Neosho County 73
Cowley 74, Colby 55
Hutchinson 76, Allen 64
Independence 84, Garden City 67
Cloud County 78, Labette 75
Dodge City 88, Kansas City 84
Seward County 77, Fort Scott 45