DCCC Men's Basketball: Conqs Play Down the Stretch for Crucial Road Victory

Joe Penno
DCCC Sports Information Director
Conqs men's basketball down Pratt Beavers 95-83 Wednesday night.

The Dodge City Community College men's basketball program took to the road to play the Pratt Beavers in the Beaver Dome Wednesday night and escaped with a 12-point victory, winning 95-83.

A back and forth first six minutes saw the Conquistadors hold a 15-11 lead with 13:52 remaining in the first half, but the home team kept chopping wood and came alive with an 18-3 run to go ahead 29-18 at the media timeout with 9:03 remaining.

That was all the Conqs needed as they flexed their muscles and ended the half on a 22-9 run of their own, taking the lead at 40-38 on a steal and layup by Walyn Napper heading into halftime.

The Beavers came out of halftime not ready to roll over just yet. A Malcolm Whitlow three-pointer and a Cam Morris dunk to open the second half put Pratt ahead 43-40.

The two teams would trade the lead back and forth until the score was tied at 48 and the Conquistadors made a 14-2 push to take a 62-50 lead, their largest of the game.

Pratt battled back to pull within two at 70-68 with 6:53 to play, but unbeknownst to them, the Walyn Napper show was just getting started. The Conquistadors rattled off a 15-7 run over the course of the next six minutes, including Napper scoring 13 of his game high 37, to take an 85-75 lead with 1:02 to play.

The Conquistadors knocked down their free throws, extending their lead to 12 points twice, before the game's final buzzer sounded and showed a 95-83 victory by the visitors.

"I thought we struggled in the first 10 minutes of the game before really settling in," said head coach Jake Williams. "Pratt does a great job of junking it up on you and they play extremely hard. Once we settled in, though, I thought we played winning basketball for the most part.

"Our situational and closing basketball down the stretch was really good and I was proud to see us execute and make good decisions late game on the road."

The two teams battled with a tie in points off turnovers, Pratt holding a four-point advantage on second chance points, and Dodge holding a two-point advantage on points in the paint; but it was the play of sophomore Walyn Napper down the stretch that made the difference.

Napper led the Conqs with 37 points, two shy of his career high, including 23 in the second half. He also added seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals. Marlow Gilmore Jr. turned in his best performance of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds, his second double-double of the year. Dhieu Deing was the only other Conquistador in double figures, adding 17 points to go with five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Despite battling foul trouble again, Mike Marsh was a presence inside in his limited minutes scoring eight points and grabbing four rebounds.

The Beavers were led by Harrison Eghan's near double-double of 20 points and 9 rebounds. Leading scorer on the season, Malcolm Whitlow was right at his average of 18.5, scoring 19 points to go with his 7 assists. Cam Morris also added a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds while Tommy Thomas chipped in 12 points off the bench.

Dodge City moves to 9-4 on the year and 8-4 in KJCCC play as they look to keep pace with the Hutchinson Blue Dragons in the West. The Pratt Beavers fall to 4-9 on the year and 3-9 in conference play.

The Conquistadors are back in action on Saturday, March 13 when they host the Barton Cougars in a KJCCC doubleheader at the Student Activity Center.

The women's game is set to tipoff at 1 p.m. CST with the men's game to follow.

Fans are welcome and tickets can be purchased at https://goconqs.com/sports/2021/2/4/test.aspx.