DCCC Men's BB: Conquistadors Drop OT Thriller to No. 25 Hutchinson

Joe Penno
DCCC Sports Information Director

The Dodge City Community College men's basketball program fell to the No. 25 Hutchinson Blue Dragons 100-89 in overtime Monday night at the Student Activity Center.

In a back-and-forth contest it was the Hutchinson Blue Dragons, new to the NJCAA Top-25 at No. 25, who made the games' final push in overtime after knocking down two free throws to tie the game in regulation.

Fueled by a near capacity student section, it was the Conquistadors who opened up the scoring with a 12-2 lead early capped off by an Emmanuel Jones fast break three just 2:30 minutes into the game.

The Blue Dragons fought back to tie the contest and ultimately take a three-point lead at 36-33 with 4:33 to play. This ignited a Conquistador 15-3 run to end the half, giving the home team a 48-39 halftime advantage.

The second half saw Conquistadors again extended their lead to double digits early at 53-41 thanks to a Walyn Napper fast break layup. Again, it was a battle tested Hutchinson team refusing to roll over and battling back to take a 59-58 lead with 15:04 to play.

Another Conquistador run gave the home team a 74-66 lead with 10:27 remaining, this time a 16-7 spurt that was capped off by an electrifying Marlow Gilmore steal and dunk, had the Student Activity Center rocking, but the Blue Dragons didn't waver.

Hutchinson slowly chipped away at the Conquistador lead, tying the game at 83-83 with 1:34 to go in regulation. 

Tyler Stallworth muscled his way to the basket for an 85-83 lead with 1:11 left. After two Hutchinson missed layups with 45 seconds to play, the Conquistadors had the ball and a chance to all but ice the game. Sophomore Dhieu Deing got tied up on his way to the basket, giving the Blue Dragons life.

A blocking foul on the perimeter sent Josh Baker to the line where he made two free throws with 10 seconds left, part of his game-high 31 points. Walyn Napper's game winning layup attempt was blocked by the Blue Dragons' Matt Mayers, taking the contest to overtime tied at 85.

The overtime period belonged entirely to the Blue Dragons.

After winning the tip, a Josh Baker layup attempt was blocked by Deing but rebounded and put back by Mayers as he was fouled by Conquistador Mike Marsh in the process.

The Blue Dragons scored the first nine points in the period and capped their 11-1 run with a dagger Josh Baker three-pointer with 2:31 to play, putting Hutchinson up 97-86.

The Conquistadors would get an Emmanuel Jones three-pointer with 1:32 left in the overtime period, but the Blue Dragons made their free throws and finished the contest with a 100-89 victory.

Free throws and rebounding told the story of this one as the Conquistadors made 8-9 (89%) free throws in the first half but only 6-13 (46%) in the second half for a total of 14-22 (64%), while the Blue Dragons made 26-38 (68%) for the game.

The Blue Dragons attacked the offensive glass late, forcing free throw opportunities. They finished the contest with 18 offensive rebounds, 11 of which came after the 10-minute media timeout in the second half.

Offensively, the Conquistadors were led in scoring by Walyn Napper's 25 points to go with his seven assists. However, it was the inspired play of Emmanuel Jones who seemingly opened up the Conquistador offense. Getting his first start of the season, Jones was 4-4 from the field and 2-2 from beyond the arc for 10 points in the first half. He wound up finishing with 19 points off an efficient 7-10 from the field and 5-5 from three, while adding eight rebounds, four assists, and a block.

Mike Marsh added 15 points, six rebounds, and two blocks coming off the bench for the first time this year.

Tyler Stallworth showcased a complete game, registering nine points, six assists, eight rebounds, and a steal.

Returning recently from injury, Blue Dragons' guard Josh Baker led their attack with his 31 points and six rebounds, including a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. Despite battling foul trouble in the first half, Matt Mayers recorded a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds as well.

Majok Kuath added 14 points, seven rebounds, and four blocked shots while starting point guard Isaiah Bujdoso toyed with a triple double with his 10 rebounds, eight points, and seven rebounds.

The loss moves the Conquistadors a full three games behind the Blue Dragons in the KJCCC West standings as Dodge City falls to 8-6 in conference play and 9-6 overall. Hutchinson improves to 12-3 and 11-3, respectively.

The Conquistadors are back in action on Wednesday, March 17 when they travel to Liberal, Kansas to take on the Seward County Saints in a KJCCC double header. The women's game is slated to begin at 6 p.m. CST with the men's game to follow.