Busters hang tough in close loss to Blue Dragons
Busters hang tough in close loss to Blue Dragons
By BRAD HALLIER
Special to The Telegram
HUTCHINSON — Fourteen Jayhawk West games remain for the Hutchinson Community College men, and they will probably have to play at least half of those without point guard D'Von Campbell.
The fourth-ranked Blue Dragons got their first taste of playing without the sophomore transfer from Texas-El Paso on Monday at the Sports Arena. The Blue Dragons beat Garden City 65-58, but they tied a season low with 13 assists and had their second fewest steals of the season with six.
Campbell, who broke his right pinky Saturday at Dodge City and is expected to miss three to six weeks, was Hutchinson's assists leader (54) and third in steals (20). Freshman Kadeem Allen will be the primary ball handler until Campbell returns. The Blue Dragons have others capable, like sophomores Jack Pyle, AJ Spencer and Rozell Nunn, and freshman BJ Watson. But the Blue Dragons only had one day to prepare for Garden City without Campbell, and they'll have only one more to prepare for Butler.
"I'm going to have to play harder at both ends," said Allen, who scored 14 points but is still suffering from flu-like symptoms. "I'm going to have to make a lot of plays on defense."
Hutchinson used its defense, especially late, to post its second straight tight Jayhawk West win. Garden City (8-8, 0-2) shot 37.1 percent and committed 17 turnovers, which Hutch turned into 16 points. The 58 points allowed were the third fewest Hutchinson has given up this season.
"Everyone's going to have to step up and play harder on defense," said Spencer, who had a game-high 20 points. "D'Von provided a lot of pressure on defense and that helped us get a lot of steals. Everyone will have to step their game up."
Hutchinson shook off a slow start and provided some entertaining basketball. Down 8-0 five minutes into the game, the Blue Dragons outscored the Broncbusters 30-12 the rest of the half. A 16-5 run over the final 6:08 gave Hutch a 30-20 lead at halftime.
"I thought we played them even until about the seven- or eight-minute mark of the first half," Garden City coach Rand Chappell said. "They got a couple putbacks and we turned it over."
Hutchinson carried that momentum into the second half, where the Blue Dragons built a 47-32 lead with 12:15 left after a couple Spencer free throws.
One play, which may prove to be the highlight of the season, came about three minutes earlier. Garden City's Reuben King drove to the basket with the shot clock winding down. He lofted a high shot, but Hutchinson's Tafari Whittingham looked like a Brazilian Olympic volleyball player by kabooming the ball out of bounds as the shot clock expired.
"Great defensive play," Spencer said with a smile.
"That was a big one, a big blocked shot," Allen said.
It didn't both Garden City, however. Down 47-32, the Busters scored 10 straight, and King's free throw with 7:10 left made it a 47-42 game.
King, who had 14 points, scored again with 3:01 left, and what was a comfortable Hutch lead was now 54-53. The Busters even had a chance to take the lead.
"I'm proud of the guys," Chappell said. "We were down one with a chance to take the lead, and even though we didn't execute as well as I'd like the last 2:30, we took a step forward. If we continue to do that, we'll win some games in this league."
Alex Davis put Hutch up 57-54 with 1:59 left, and Spencer added a free throw 19 seconds later, helping Hutch secure the win. Allen sank three free throws in the final 1:10 as part of his 20-point night. He also had three assists and three of Hutchinson's 11 turnovers in his debut as Hutchinson's primary ball handler.
While the Blue Dragons improved to 16-0 overall and 2-0 in the Jayhawk West, there is concern headed to Wednesday's game at Butler.
"I've got to find some depth," HCC coach Steve Eck said. "The bench, I thought, wasn't real effective tonight. Without D'Von, we've got to make adjustments.
"Kadeem's got to play a little point, a little wing, so we've got to find someone else to run it. We've got some things to work on with D'Von out."
The Busters are back home for a 7:30 p.m. Wednesday game against Barton.
HUTCHINSON 65, GARDEN CITY 58
GARDEN CITY (8-8, 0-2 Jayhawk West)
Agholor 3-13 0-0 7, King 6-14 1-2 14, Jones 2-5 0-0 5, Bernbeck 0-0 0-0 0, Hall 8-14 1-3 19, Cathey 2-7 2-2 6, Ebondo 1-3 3-4 5, Chandler 0-0 0-0 0, Joseph 1-6 0-0 2. Totals 23-62 7-11 58
HUTCHINSON (16-0, 2-0)
Davis 5-12 1-2 11, Pyle 1-2 0-0 2, Allen 5-9 3-5 14, Spencer 5-8 9-10 20, Whittingham 0-5 2-7 2, Jackson 1-1 0-0 2, Henley 1-6 1-2 3, Nunn 4-6 3-3 11. Totals 22-49 19-29 65
Halftime score: Hutchinson 30-20. 3-point goals: Garden City 5-18 (Hall 2-7, Agholor 1-2, Jones 1-4, King 1-4, Ebondo 0-1). Hutchinson 2-6 (Spencer 1-1, Allen 1-2, Nunn 0-1, Whittingham 0-1, Pyle 0-1). Rebounds: Garden City 43 (Cathey 15), Hutchinson 32 (Davis 8). Assists: Garden City 15 (Agholor 4), Hutchinson 13 (Allen, Spencer 3). Turnovers: Garden City 17, Hutchinson 11. Total fouls: Garden City 20, Hutchinson 15.