The Dodge City Lady Conquistadors look to have found an open door to playing the nationally-ranked Hutchinson Lady Dragons in the first half of their Jayhawk West showdown at United Wireless Arena.
That was before the Lady Dragons shut the door by kicking their game up to another gear to slam the door shut on the way to a 77-49 victory to end Dodge City's regular season.
Dodge City (16-13, 3-11) shot only 13-of-51 in the contest, starting slow in both halves against the Hutchinson defense. Kelli Tolar scored 12 points to lead the Lady Conqs in scoring, while Azaria Nave and Alejandra Esparza-Raglin added nine apiece in the loss.
Kalani Purcell recorded a double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds to lead Hutchinson (28-0, 14-0), ranked third in the nation. Jen'Von'ta Hill added 12 for the Lady Dragons. Hutchinson scored 24 points off of turnovers and 17 more on second chance opportunities in the contest.
The Lady Conqs made only three baskets in the first 10 minutes of the game: two 3-pointers by Tolar and a third by Katren Cramer. Hutchinson was able to build a 20-9 lead midway through the opening stanza.
Hutchinson pushed the lead to as much as 15 in the first half before Dodge City was able to apply pressure to cut the margin to 28-25 with 2:30 remaining before intermission. The Lady Dragons scored the final eight points to push the lead back up to double digits at intermission.
Tolar led Dodge City with nine points, while Nave and Esparza-Raglin scored five apiece.
The Lady Dragons were much tougher on defense in the second half. Hutchinson allowed only one field goal in the first 13 minutes to extend the lead to as much as 32 points.
Dodge City will begin Region VI tournament play Saturday on the road against Coffeyville. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.
HUTCHINSON (77) -- Block 2, Harding 9, Bloom 0, Patrick 5, Starks 8, Hill 2, Benoit 7, Dewey 4, Daughhettee 2, Purcell 20, Jones 6. Totals 28-59 16-22 77.
DODGE CITY (49) -- Whitaker 1, Cramer 7, Whipple 0, Patterson 0, Ruiz 0, Buckner 4, Esparza-Raglin 9, Nave 9, Herrera 2, Tolar 12, Hall 3, Williams 2. Totals 13-51 17-26 49.
Halftime -- Hutchinson 36, Dodge City 25. Three-point baskets -- Hutchinson 3-9 (Block 0-1, Harding 1-4, Patrick 0-1, Hill 1-1, Benoit 0-1, Purcell 1-1), Dodge City 6 (Cramer 2-4, Whipple 0-1, Patterson 0-4, Ruiz 0-1, Buckner 0-2, Nave 1-6, Tolar 3-4). Rebounds -- Hutchinson 53 (Purcell 15), Dodge City 30 (Buckner 7). Assists -- Hutchinson 10 (Hill 4), Dodge City 8 (Buckner 4). Fouled out -- none. Total fouls -- Hutchinson 23, Dodge City 15. Records -- Hutchinson 28-0 (14-0), Dodge City 16-14 (3-11).