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Lady Cougars look to start conference schedule fresh after long break
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Barton Community College freshman guard Ashton Bruner (20) dashes past a McPherson JV defender on Nov. 27 at Kirkman Activity Center. - photo by Kevin Price Great Bend Tribune

Returning from the holiday break, the Barton Community College women’s basketball team has been rejuvenated.
During a frantic non-conference season, the Lady Cougars weren’t always able to get quality practices between games to work out any kinks.
“We played a lot of games,” Barton head coach Carter Kruger said. “We’d identify little mistakes that we were making, but we didn’t get to fix them without a few practices in between.
“We also had some good moments in the non-conference games. We’ve been able to make some adjustments here and there.”
Now, Barton is in the middle of a week’s worth of practices leading up to Saturday’s Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference season-opening game on the road in Liberal against Seward County at 6 p.m.
“They came back a little bit out of shape, and after 2 1/2 weeks, that’s natural,” Kruger said. “We started practice on Friday, and we’ve had some sharp practices so far. They did do some work over the break. They all did a fairly decent job.”
Kruger said that he thinks the time off has helped his team.
“I think the break helped us recharge our batteries,” Kruger said. “It helped us get refocused. The non-conference schedule was full, and it starts to wear at your minds.
“I think the girls are back and ready to make a run at the conference.”
The Lady Cougars host a KJCCC game on Monday night against Dodge City, starting at 5:30.
Freshman guard Ashton Bruner leads the Lady Cougars with 10.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Sophomore point guard Erin Copeland leads with 47 assists during the non-conference stretch.
Sophomore shooting guard Blair Bloomfield is the only other player averaging in double figures with 10.2 points per game.
“They have a little more sense of urgency,” Kruger said of his five sophomores, which includes Copeland, Bloomfield, Jennifer Allende, Taschell Phillips and Ta’Kerra Williams. “They want to win a conference title. This could be their last January and February of basketball, so they’ve been showing a lot of energy and enthusiasm.”