The Dodge City Conquistadors women’s basketball team finished its fall 2017 slate with a 63-56 win over Northwest Kansas Technical College last Thursday.

With the win, the team ended a five-game losing streak and went into Christmas break 5-7 overall.

“Looking back over over the 12 games we played, if I could have a do-over I’d want to take back the Colby game, and I think the girls would too,” head coach Zach Loll said. “That’s one we let get away that I think we learned from but at the same time you can’t change it so we had to learn from it.”

Loll said he thought that game’s outcome, a 56-54 loss, probably factored into last Thursday’s victory against Northwest Kansas Tech, particularly in the second half of it when the team played better and came back to win.

“That we’d been down this road before of not coming to play, got beat by a inferior opponent and kind of had that wakeup call moment for them (Thursday night) because they were able to go back and think about how they played against that Colby team and got beat at the buzzer up there,” Loll said.

The team continues to improve, though not always steadily, such as when the team didn’t play to their potential in the first half of last Thursday’s game but came back and played a more up-to-par second.

“I think earlier in the season had we had that game, we woulda never come back and (been) able to overcome that 11-point deficit or even 14 at one time,” Loll said.

Nor would they have been able to mount their final comeback in that game, which was needed after the team fell behind in the fourth quarter again.

“We’re getting better, it’s just really trying to find that consistency of for 40 minutes trying to play and have that,” Loll said.

Loll is in his second year as the head coach of the team. In that time, he has come to recognize a couple of things from last year.

“I think we’ve got the right kids in our program now, right girls, that want to be here, that want to be not just basketball players but I think more importantly academically they want to be part of Dodge City Community College,” Loll said.

That means being more than just athletes, but students as well he said.

“They understand that they’re not just here to be basketball (players), they’re here to get an education, so we’re changing the culture and what the expectation is of Dodge City Community College women’s basketball players, and what that expectation is,” Loll said.

Part of that means “striving for excellence every day in everything that we do.”

“I think that we’re making progress towards that and the girls understand that,” Loll said.

The road ahead for the team won’t be any easier, but Loll said he thinks there are a number of games in the spring that give the Conquistadors an opportunity to have success in.

“But we have to take advantage of that,” he said. “We can’t take games for granted and think that ’Oh we’ll just show up,’ we’ve gotta come out and play in those games. So I think that we go on Christmas break (on a) positive note, come back refreshed, and I think that will do us a lot of good.”

After last week’s win, Loll said he believes the team can continue to do good things in the second semester and continue to improve.

The Conquistadors men’s basketball team next returns to action with a visit to Iola, Kansas to take on Allen Community College Jan. 3, 2018. The team then returns home to face Independence Community College at 1 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2018.