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March 11, 2013LADY DRAGONS REPEAT AS REGION VI CHAMPS, SMOTHER COWLEY IN 2ND HALF
PARK CITY - People have been trying to compare Hutchinson Community College's women's basketball's 2012 and 2013 teams all season long.
But the comparisons are truly like comparing apples and oranges. Two totally different starting line-ups. Two totally different skill sets and two totally different ways of getting things done.
Now there is one very important comparison between the two teams - both are Region VI champions.
No. 3-ranked Hutchinson dominated the final 14 minutes of the game and overpowered the Jayhawk East champion Cowley Tigers 70-46 in the 2013 Region VI championship game on Saturday at Hartman Arena. The HCC's women's victory was part of a Dragon Double as the HCC men defeated Barton to win the men's Region VI championship later Saturday night.
The Lady Dragons win their second-straight regional title, the third in the last five years and the sixth overall. Hutchinson (33-1) will next play in the NJCAA Women's National Tournament at the Bicentennial Center in Salina the week of March 18-23. Official seeding and pairing for the new 24-team single-elimination tournament will be announced on Monday.
Sophomore Chrisstasia Walter was named the Region VI Women's Tournament's Most Valuable Player. She was joined by sophomores Jasmine Patterson and Jade Herl and freshman Jamie Patrick on the all-tournament team.
Hutchinson led Cowley (29-5) by as many as seven points in the first half 27-24 at halftime. That lead was down to a scant 37-36 with 14:40 play in the second half. That when Hutchinson's No. 3 nationally ranked defense took over.
HCC held Cowley to just two field goals over the final 14 minutes of the game, shutting out the Tigers from the field for a stretch of 12 minutes, 14 seconds. It took awhile for HCC's offense to catch up with its defense. The Lady Dragons went without a field goal four exactly 4 minutes, but built a 46-39 lead with 11:38 to play with all points coming from the free-throw line.
Sophomore Kyrsten Crawford then lit the Lady Dragon fuse with a 3-pointer at the 10:17 mark of the second half to push the lead to double figures for the first time. Crawford's trey started a 13-1 run and the Lady Dragons exploded from there, outscoring Cowley 33-10 over the final 14 minutes of the game and 43-22 in the second half.
Patterson had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead the Lady Dragons. Freshman Jen'Von'Ta Hill came off the bench to score 12 points, hitting a career-high three 3-point field goals. Hill added six rebounds, two steals and two assists. Sophomore Aja Sorrells had 11 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Walter finished with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds with four assists and two steals. Patrick had seven points and 10 rebounds.
The Lady Dragons were 20 of 57 shooting (35.1 percent), going 8 of 22 from 3-point range and 22 of 28 from the foul line. HCC dominated Cowley on the board out-rebounding the Tigers 49-31. The Lady Dragons had just 13 turnovers.
Hutchinson's defense held Cowley to a season-low 24.5 percent shooting from the field (12 of 49), including 4 of 14 from 3-point range and 18 of 26 from the foul line. The Tigers had 14 turnovers.
Kasey Ptacek had 15 points to lead Cowley. Emilie Gronas had 14 points.
Points were hard to come by for both teams in the first half, but both teams were hitting from long range early. Patterson and Patrick connected on early 3-pointers to give HCC a 10-5 lead, but Ptacek and Gronas hit from long range to give the Tigers a 12-10 lead with 12:51 to play in the opening half.
The Lady Dragons answered with back-to-back 3-pointers from Walter and Patrick for a 20-14 lead with 8:58 to play, but HCC's offense dried up for a while. Cowley went on a 6-0 run to tie the game at 20-all, but HCC answered with a 7-0 run capped off by a Hill 3-pointer with 5:20 to play for a 27-20 Lady Dragon lead.
HCC went scoreless for the remainder of the first half. The Lady Dragons shot just 10 of 31 in the opening half. Cowley couldn't take advantage of the Lady Dragon dry spell with only four points over the final 4:47. HCC led 27-24 at intermission.
Cowley had the opening possession of the second half, but a Sorrells steal and layup was an early sign of what was about to happen.
Before Hutchinson's explosion in the final 14 minutes, Cowley tied the game at 29-all with 18:24 to go and again at 34-all with 16:29 to play. When Yvonna Dunkley scored with 14:40 to play, HCC's lead was 37-36.
HCC's only offense for four minutes came at the free-throw line. Leading 42-39, freshman Briana Starks sank a pair of free throws for a five-point lead; Hutch's largest of the second half. Patterson added two more with 11:38 to play for a seven-point lead. The Lady Dragons got a defensive stop and then Crawford hit the big 3-pointer to push the game to a 10-point margin (49-39) and the rout was on. Hill had a steal and layup to give HCC a 59-41 lead with 4:40 to go.
During Cowley's 12:14 stretch without a field goal, Hutchinson turned a four-point lead into a 68-44 lead with 1 minute to play in the game.
The Lady Dragons host only 10 of 26 from the field, but limited the Tigers to 6 of 26 overall shooting and 1 of 7 from 3-point range in the second half.
GAME NOTES - Of HCC's six regional championship appearances, Saturday's 70 points was the most points scored by the Lady Dragons in one of those games and the 24-point margin of victory was also the largest. The combined total of HCC's first three regional championship victories was only 14 points. HCC is now 4-2 in Region VI championship games and 46-32 overall in the regional tournament. The Lady Dragons are 3-6 vs. Cowley in Region VI play and 18-22 all-time vs. the Tigers. Head coach John Ontjes is now 17-3 in Region VI games. The 2013 sophomores became the first sophomore class to win two Region VI championships and they extended their school record to 69 victories as a class. Hutchinson is the second school in Region VI history to win both men's and women's titles in the same year. Cloud County did it in 1980. Cowley is the 98th straight opponent to not shoot 50 percent in a game vs. HCC. Jasmine Patterson is now tied with Derryn Jakobi (2004) for second place on the single-season blocked shots list with 47. Jamie Patrick is now fifth in freshman 3-pointers with 58. Patterson is now 21st on the Top 25 career scoring list with 721 points. The 2013 Lady Dragons are now second in total field goals (974), tied for eighth in 3-point goals (180), tied for fifth in total free throws (468) and became the first team in school history to reach the 500 steal mark with a team record 504. HCC is 27-0 when out-rebounding an opponent and 32-1 when outshooting an opponent. .. This was the 20th time this season HCC held an opponent to less than 50 points in a game and the 16th time to hold an opponent to less than 30 percent shooting. The 22 free throws tied for third most this season. Patrick had her third career double figures rebounding game.