The Dodge City Conquistadors basketball teams split Saturday’s games with the Allen County Red Devils Saturday.
In the women’s side, the Conqs out-rebounded the Red Devils 43-31 on the way to a 61-52 win.
Freshman guard Allie Baker led all scorers with 14 points. Freshman guard Alec Fitts had 10 points and freshman guard Amour’ee Morrison had a team-high three assists for the Conquistadors.
For the Red Devils, sophomore guard Kamri Summons led the way with a double-double via a team-high 11 points and game-high 10 rebounds.
Conquistador head coach Zach Loll said two things stood out to him.
The first was that this team is a defense-first squad.
“Most teams don’t like to have the identity, but we’re a defensive team right now,” Loll said. “We can take care of it on the defensive end and make things tough, and I thought we did a good job of that.”
The other was that the team is getting tougher.
“We’ve talked about that all year, we’ve gotta be tougher,” Loll said. “There were times when things didn’t go well but we fought through it, we didn’t give up, there in the fourth-quarter, you know some turnovers and things, but we got ourselves figured out and then handled the pressure alright.”
ONE CHANCE ONLY: The Conquistador advantage in rebounding was especially prominent when they were on defense Saturday. Of 38 possible defensive rebounds, the Conquistadors got 31 of them, only allowing the Red Devils seven offensive boards.
That allowed the Conquistadors to hold the Devils to only three second-chance points.
“We wanted to make ‘em into a jump-shooting team which I thought we did a good job of throughout the entire game, and then we went and rebounded and didn’t give ‘em too many second-opportunities,” Loll said. “(We) held ‘em to seven offensive rebounds, and that’s important in a team like that that’s active and athletic that you don’t let ‘em get to the offensive glass.”
Dodge City also made eight more free throws, going 22-31 from the line Saturday.
“Free throws were really a big part,” Baker said. “We knew that we need to sink ‘em, but we knew just to relax and we would make it.”
TAKEAWAY: The win moved the Conqs women’s team to 8-15 in conference play and 11-15 overall. With three games to play, and in 10th place in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, the Conqs are most likely where they will finish going into the KJCCC Region VI Tournament.
They are four games ahead of Neosho County, so the Conqs won’t fall to 11th.
They are two games behind Barton at 10-13, but Barton’s remaining schedule includes a 3-23 Pratt team that has lost their last three games and 7-20 Neosho County team, so moving up is highly unlikely.
UP NEXT: The Conqs head to Independence, Kansas to take on the Independence Pirates (21-5) (19-4) Wednesday.
The men’s game:
In the final seconds of Saturday’s game, a Conquistador player threw a down-court pass which got intercepted by a Red Devils player, allowing Allen County to burn the remainder of the clock and secure a 79-78 victory over Dodge City Saturday night.
“It’s kind of like a jump-ball almost,” Conquistador assistant coach Chris Hagan said. “Keven (Howard) tried to make a pass out here, we had some guys leaking out but I think he was falling out of bounds, kind of fading away, so he didn’t get as much on it as he probably wanted to. We just didn’t get it completed, but we put ourselves in a bad situation because we didn’t get that separation. We leave it up to chance and this is what can happen.”
Saturday’s men’s basketball game between the two colleges as by every indication a back-and-forth affair. The largest lead either team had was six points, when the Conquistadors led early in the second half. The Red Devils led by at most five points.
The Conqs rallied from down five with 3:21 left and tied the game on an athletic layup by freshman forward Kevin Howard with 1:38 left tied the game at 76-76, but Allen County came back and hit a 3-pointer to take a 79-76 lead with 1:05 remaining.
“We had an opportunity to get (our lead) to eight, get it to nine, but we didn’t make smart basketball plays and it allowed them to stay close, and then when it’s a two-point game, they can make a 3 fallin with the shot-clock going down,” Hagan said. “It’s just a learning experience for our kids.”
The team has a lot of young players, he said.
“They’re learning,” Hagan said. “It’s been a tough year, but we’ll be better for it next year.”
TAKEAWAY: The Conqs loss Saturday came at an inopportune time the team, which is currently sitting in 12th place in the conference. They are one game behind Neosho County, which lost Saturday as well. Dodge City’s loss to Allen also means Allen County is now just one game behind the Conqs with three games left to play before the Region VI Tournament.
The Conqs could move up as high as 10th because they are only three games behind Pratt with a conference record of 9-14. They could also fall all the way to 14th, as they are only two games ahead of 4-19 (in conference play) Cloud County.
UP NEXT: The Conqs head to Independence, Kansas to take on the Independence Pirates (15-11) (12-11) Wednesday.