There was a time for the Dodge City Red Demon players to have a time to refocus on the task at hand for the final six games of the regular season and the playoffs. Ever since the Red Demons gave up 22 points in a fourth quarter loss at McPherson where they led after three quarter, there has been more emphasis on communication and playing as a team.
That was evident Thursday night when the offense was successful by being patient and the defense smothered the Colby Eagles' offense in a 44-18 victory at the DCHS Fieldhouse. It was the Red Demons' fourth win in their last five games, but it was the loss to the Bullpups that woke up the team.
"It was a tough loss," said senior Jordan Doan. "They hit a few shots and beat us, and that kind of woke us up. We started getting back to practicing hard and winning like we had been. My teammates are trying to get me involved and I'm trying to help my teammates get involved.
"We're all thinking going into every game that we're going to win. We're just going to have to continue to play like we did tonight, and it, hopefully, falls into place and we can get the 'W'."
The Demons' defense gave up only one first half field goal – a fade-away 3-pointer just before the end of the first quarter – and forced 14 turnovers in the first half as Dodge City (9-6) built a 19-4 lead by halftime. Fourteen of Dodge City's points before intermission were off of Eagle turnovers.
"We'd like to have this effort every night out. I think our kids are starting to get it," said DCHS head coach Dennis Hamilton. "The kids are switching screens and they are doing it with communication.
"The great thing about playing good defense is that all it really requires is to come and play hard and talk. It's a desired trait like rebounding. When you have a group that is buying in, then it always gives you a chance to win."
Hamilton was just as pleased with the way the offense ran against the Eagles (4-11). Dodge City made five of their nine 3-point attempts, with most of them being open looks. The Demons also had 14 offensive rebounds and turned that into 11 second chance points.
"Things are clicking at the right time, but we still have a mountain to climb with the second time going through the conference," Hamilton said. "Every game is a new experience, but if we continue to stay true to form, then the winning and losing will take care of itself."
Colby showed some signs of life on offense in the third quarter, but didn't reach double digits on the board until the final minute of the third quarter. The Red Demons increased the margin to 36-11 by the end of the stanza.
Dodge City scored six of the first seven points in the final quarter to start the running clock with four minutes remaining in the game.
The Red Demons will return to action Saturday night with a road game against the Wichita Collegiate Spartans. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.