Wednesday night saw both rarities and the norm for the Barton men’s basketball team.
The rarity – there was no Craig Fletchall on the Barton bench.
The winningest coach in school history, was instead, home with the flu. In his stead, assistant Brad Witherspoon ran the bench for the No. 7 ranked team in the nation.
At times, early in the game, it appeared as if the Cougars’ defense had the flu as well. Cowley built a 16-point lead during the first half thanks to some torrid outside shooting.
The norm - with or without Coach Fletchall, the Cardiac Cougars were at it again. This time, though, Barton wasn’t able to close the deal – a rarity for the team this season.
Barton came all the way back from that 16-point deficit, led by as many as six in the second half, but got sloppy late.
The result was just the third loss of the season for the Cougars.
Cowley pulled the upset of the Jayhawk Conference leader, outscoring Barton 18-4 down the stretch for a 100-92 victory. The loss ended Barton’s 8-game winning streak.
“We kept telling the kids we can’t keep getting behind at halftime,” Coach Witherspoon said. “It came back to bite us tonight. We just have to make sure we don’t turn one loss into two.
“Not having Coach Fletch here was different. But that was no excuse for us.”
Despite the loss, Barton still leads the Jayhawk. The Cougars are 15-3 in the conference and 19-3 overall. That is good for a one-game lead over both Coffeyville and Hutchinson. Cowley is 11-7 and 14-8 and tied for fourth.
Cowley came out knocking down 3-pointers and never stopped the entire night. The Tigers hit 4-of-5 in the first four minutes, building a 12-6 lead.
The Tigers kept firing away from deep and when St. John native Clint Kinnamon hit back-to-back 3-pointers, Cowley had a 20-11 lead. A Gage Maccoy trey made it 23-11 with 13:07 to play in the half, forcing Barton Coach Witherspoon to spend a timeout. At that point, Cowley was 7-of-10 on treys.
Cowley continued knocking down the deep ball. A Jeremiah Starks 3-pointer with 6:38 left in the half gave Barton its biggest deficit of the year at 37-22. Another Starks trey made it 40-24. At that point, Cowley was a sizzling 10-of-17 on 3-pointers.
Cowley went to half up 52-40. The Tigers hit 11-of-20 treys the opening 20 minutes.
The Cougars, though, had comeback before. In fact eight times this year, Barton has rallied from a halftime deficit in the Jayhawk for a win.
Barton got the lead under 10 when Cannon scored with 17:15 to play, making it 58-49. Back-to-back Elijah Ford layups on fast-break opportunities made it 63-57 with 14:39 to play.
A trey from Keshon Montague cut the lead to 63-60 with 13:20 to play to cap a 9-0 run. Another long distance bucket by Montague trimmed the lead to 69-68 with 11:30 and then his 5th 3-pointer of the night gave Barton a 71-69 lead with 11:09 left. It was the first time Barton led all night.
Barton pushed the lead to 76-72 on a Ford runner in the lane. Montague followed with a runner of his own and suddenly it was a 78-72 lead with 9:35 left.
The Cougars continued to score at will but Cowley kept hitting enough shots to stay close.
Montague, in the midst of a career night scoring the ball, brought the crowd to its feet with 5:35 to play. The sophomore from Canada hit a high-arching runner in the lane and was fouled as he tumbled to the floor. The ensuing free throw made it 88-82.
Barton scored just two points the next 3:20 on the clock but Cowley could only cut the lead to 90-88.
Noah Webster extended that lead with two free throws for a 92-88 lead with 2:16 to play. It would be Barton’s final points.
A quick 4-0 run by Cowley sandwiched around a Barton turnover tied the game at 92-all with 1:59 left. Cowley took the lead when Darnell Cowart hit 1-of-2 free throws for a 93-92 lead.
A third TO in four possessions by Barton was followed by a 3-pointer from Starks with one minute left to put the Cougars in deep trouble, down 96-92.
A fourth turnover would do the Cougars in with 45 seconds to play. Cowley closed the game on an 18-4 run over the final 5:35.
Montague ended with a career-high 27 points. Ford and Marvin Cannon both added 20. Kawanise ‘Squeaky’ Wilkins had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Cannon added 10 boards.
Starks led Cowley with 34, keyed by a 7-of-8 effort on treys. Cowley made a stellar 18-of-32 3-pointers on the night.
Barton will get a chance to not only right the ship but get some payback this weekend. The Cougars travel to Iola Saturday to take on Allen County. The same Allen team that came to the Barton Gym in late November and handed Barton its first loss of the year, 68-65. Allen is 4-14 in the Jayhawk. Tip is in the afternoon at 4 pm.
Cowley 100, No. 7 Barton 92
Cowley 52 48 – 100
Barton 40 52 – 92
Cowley (11-7, 14-8) 100
Kinnamon 3-6 0-0 9, McGee 4-7 0-0 10, Starks 11-14 5-5 34, Corbett 2-3 2-2 6, Cowart 6-13 2-3 17, Rembert 4-10 2-2 12, Maccoy 1-5 0-0 3, Van Dyke 1-7 2-2 4, Pack 0-0 1-2 1, Shakur 1-1 0-0 2, Harrison 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 34-68 14-16 100.
Barton (15-3, 19-3) 92
Wilkins 6-14 4-6 17, Ford 8-12 2-5 20, Cannon 10-16 0-1 20, Montague 9-20 4-4 27, Webster 0-7 2-2 2, Andrews 0-1 0-0 0, White 2-4 2-3 7, Dalyrimple 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 35-76 14-21 92.
3-pointers–CC 18-32 (Starks 7-8, Kinnamon 3-5, Cowart 3-6, McGee 2-4, Rembert 2-5, Maccoy 1-3, Van Dyke 0-1); Barton 8-25 (Montague 5-9, Ford 2-2, Wilkins 1-4, Cannon 0-2, Dalyrimple 0-2, Webster 0-6).
Rebounds–CC 36 (Rembert 5); Barton 45 (Wilkins 11, Cannon 10). Assists–CC 12 (Rembert 3); Barton 11 (Wilkins 3). Steals–CC 5 (Rembert 2); Barton 5 (Wilkins 2). Blocks – Cowley 4 (Van Dyke 2); Barton 8 (Cannon 4).
Turnovers–CC 9, Barton 10. Fouled Out – McGee, Cowley.
Barton 15-3 19-3
Hutchinson 14-4 18-4
Coffeyville 14-4 18-4
Garden City 11-7 15-7
Colby 11-7 15-7
Cowley 11-7 14-8
Independence 10-8 13-8
Seward County 9-9 13-9
Pratt 7-11 10-12
Butler 6-12 9-12
Dodge City 5-13 7-15
Neosho County 5-13 7-15
Cloud County 4-14 6-15
Allen County 4-14 6-16
Cowley 100, Barton 92
Butler 90, Allen 65
Coffeyville 90, Cloud 76
Colby 84, Dodge City 79
Independence 76, Garden 72
Hutchinson 105, Neosho 95
Pratt 80, Seward 73