BY MIKE MARZOLF
Special to the Tribune
DODGE CITY – The hole was just too big to dig out of. Not that the Barton women’s basketball team didn’t give it a good effort.
The Cougars came storming back from 18 points down with seven minutes to play but in the end that was too much to overcome at the Civic Center in Dodge City Saturday afternoon. The Cougars ended up losing, 74-70, to the Conquistadors.
The loss dropped Barton to 2-6 in the Jayhawk Conference and 10-9 overall. Dodge City is now 15-4 overall and 5-3 in the Jayhawk. It was the fifth conference loss of six points or less for Barton.
Barton trailed 69-51 when the Cougars began their rally. Regan Unruh started things with a trey. Keneisha Winfrey followed with a buck and Dominique Baker added back-to-back hoops to make it 69-60 with four minutes left.
Baker continued slice away at the lead on the back of Baker. She scored 10 straight for Barton as the Cougars cut the lead to 71-66. Kilee Harris made it 71-68 then a steal and bucket by Unruh brought Barton within a single digit at 71-70 with 1:20 to play.
The Cougars could have their opportunities to take the lead but could not get over the hump.
Barton missed two opportunities the next trip down the floor before fouling. Dodge made just 1-of-2 free throws giving the Cougars another shot. Barton had another empty possession and foul but Dodge hit just 1-of-2 again for a 73-70 lead, keeping Barton alive.
One last 3-point shot by Unruh to tie with 20 seconds left missed and Dodge finished the game with another free throw for the final margin.
Harris paced Barton with 17 points followed by Baker with 15. Baker scored all 15 in the second half including 10 during the furious rally. Jalisa Jones added 14 and Unruh 12. Megan Jirak had 11 rebounds to lead the Cougars.
Antania Newton and Rachel Slattery had big games for Dodge City. Newton scored 25, hitting 6-of-9 3-pointers. Slattery added 17 points and 19 rebounds.
Barton will look for its first home conference win Wednesday when the Cougars return to the Barton Gym to take on Colby. The Trojans are winless in the conference and are 4-16 overall this season. Three of their four wins have come against JV schools.
Tip is set for 5:30 p.m.