The Dodge City Conquistadors mens basketball team looks to halt its two-game losing streak when they host the Butler Grizzlies today in the Dodge City Community College Student Activity Center.
The mens game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
Statistically speaking, the Conquistadors rank near the bottom of their 14-team conference in nearly every category. They’re 12th in field-goal percentage, 12th in 3-point percentage, 11th in free-throw percentage. They’re seventh in steals, eighth in blocks and ninth in points-per-game.
Yet the Conquistadors are 5-4 overall, having at one point been 5-2, and are in ninth place in the conference. Head coach Steve Tucker said that can be attributed to the scrappy way the team has played this season.
“I think we’ve played with a lot of grit and a lot of heart, and we’ve shown a lot of toughness, both mental and physical,” head coach Steve Tucker said. “We just play so hard.”
And word is spreading about that. When the team played against Garden City Wednesday, a 66-64 loss, Tucker said a major Division One coach was in the stands looking at one of Garden City’s bigger players, and this coach told one of Tucker’s assistants that the word around the country is how hard Dodge City plays.
Because he was in the area, the coach wanted to see if Dodge City really played that hard, Tucker said.
“He said (to Tucker’s assistant) ‘I just wanted you to convey to your head coach; man you guys play hard,’” Tucker said. “So we play with a lot of heart, and with a lot of grit, but along with that what I’ve been looking for is efficiency and execution.”
For the moment, the two pairs of characteristics are prevailing in different degrees. The team has heart and grit, but execution and efficiency are not as prevailing in the way the team plays, yet.
“I think when the efficiency and execution joins the heart and the grit and the toughness and the work ethic we play with, then we’ve got a chance to be a really good team,” Tucker said. “But I think to this point we’ve won with our toughness and our grit and our heart and how we play.”
Which explains why rebounding is the team’s statistical strength though the first nine games.
“Because of that, we’ve rebounded the ball really well,” Tucker said. “We’ve come up with loose balls, we’ve been able to create things for ourselves defensively and we’ve put ourself in a good position.”
That has left Tucker content as the team starts its December slate. The team is currently 3-3 in conference play in Tucker’s first season as the head coach.
“If somebody would have told me, if Kyle (Pattrick, the school’s sports information director) would have come in here and said to me ‘Alright coach, you guys are gonna be 5-4 and 3-3 in the conference on November the 30th, and I’ll guarantee that, will you take it?’ I would have taken that,” Tucker said. “So I’ll take this. And I’ll take where we are going into December with a young team, that just started to maybe show some execution and efficiency against a really good team.”
The Conqs take on the Grizzlies at 3 p.m. today in Dodge City Community College Student Activity Center.