The Dodge City Conquistadors learned the hard way last weekend in a loss at Pratt that it takes the mentality to play strong for 40 minutes.
The message got across for the Conquistadors as they played perhaps their best game of the season with a 72-55 victory over the Cloud County Thunderbirds in a Jayhawk West showdown at United Wireless Arena.
“I think this is the first time we've played 40 minutes and I think it shows the guys how good we can be when we play that way,” said Dodge City head coach Kyle Campbell. “I actually had goose bumps at halftime about the way we were playing tonight; that's how good we were playing.”
Vic Adams made eight of his 11 shots (6-of-7 from 3-point range) to score 27 points for Dodge City (10-9, 2-3 Jayhawk West), while Delvon Rencher added 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting in the win. The Conqs shot 25-of-46 from the field (54.3 percent), and 8-of-13 from 3-point range.
“We have been talking about efficiency and valuing every possession,” Campbell said. “We don't have a lot of room for error like some of the other teams in our league have, so we're trying to get a great shot every time. I like the pace we were playing with and how efficient we were on offense.”
Edward Dyson led Cloud County (11-7, 2-2) with 14 points and five rebounds, while James Williams added 10 in the T-Birds loss. Cloud County was only 19-of-55 from the field and only grabbed 29 rebounds (after averaging 50 a game before the night).
Adams scored the first 11 points for the Conqs for a six-point lead after five minutes of play. By the midway point, Adams had more points (14) than the T-Birds with Dodge City leading 20-13. The Conqs pushed the lead up to as many as 16 points and had a 36-22 cushion at halftime.
Adams made five of his six shots (3-of-4 from 3-point range) and scored 16 points to lead Dodge City, while the Dodge City defense forced Cloud County to shoot 9-of-27 from the field with nine turnovers (including four steals by the Conqs' A.J. Downing).
The T-Birds cut the lead down to six early in the second half, but Dodge City answered back to extend the lead up to 58-40 midway through the stanza. Cloud County never got closer than the final score.
The Conqs' next game will be Saturday night against the Seward County Saints at The Green House. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.