Anyone who was expecting a tight, evenly matched contest between the Pratt Community College Beavers and the visiting Dodge City Conquistadors on Saturday night at the Beaver Dome was not disappointed. In a game that was not decided until the final seconds, Pratt finally emerged victorious 63-58.
Dodge was on fire early, three-balls finding the mark with alarming regularity. Pratt fought back, however, and tied the game up at 14 with 9:30 left in the opening period. From there on out, neither team led by more than 4 until the very end, as the teams went back and forth on even terms for most of the contest.
Ahead 29-28 with time elapsing in the first half, Dodge played for the last shot. They drilled yet another three, but fortunately the play clock had expired before the shot was launched and PCC went to the locker room trailing by just 1 instead of 4.
The second half witnessed small runs by each team. One squad would get a bit of a lead, then the other would go on a run and get themselves into a small lead, only to have the favor returned.
Various players contributed for the Beavers: Aaron Abram hitting a 2 and a 3 early; Javis Flynn hitting a trey and a pair of free throws; DeShun Roberts getting a big putback.
“At times we went with a 4 guard line-up,” PCC head coach Jesse Shaw explained. “That allowed us to match up with them a little bit better and helped us go on some runs.”
At the 9:00 mark, the game was knotted at 44 apiece. At the 6:00 minute mark it was 49 all. In the next few minutes, PCC made a significant run. Taj Downs canned a 3 ball, Bryan Hellman got a loose ball and put it in the hoop; Ralph Abraham hit a bucket.
Meanwhile, the Conqs were wasting their possessions, inexplicably missing bunnies underneath. It took a trifecta before Dodge would score again, but Pratt had a 56-52 lead with 3:00 minutes left.
The Conqs went into a press and got the game tied again at 58 with under a minute to play. The biggest shot of the night came with 11 seconds to go. After PCC patiently had gotten the ball into the forecourt against the Dodge trap, Ralph Abraham hit nothing but net from behind the arc.
“We had to call two time-outs to set up that play,” Coach Shaw explained. “Then we executed it poorly, but sometimes being lucky is better than being good —and Ralph drilled the shot to put us up for good.”
Trailing by 3, Dodge launched a desperation long ball as time ran out. Javis Flynn rebounded, was fouled, and calmly hit a pair from the charity stripe to put the exclamation point on the 63-58 win for PCC. The final score represented Pratt’s largest lead of the night in what was a closely contested affair.
Page 2 of 2 - “We didn’t play all that well,” Coach Shaw opined. “We were rusty in spots. I’m happy we got the win, though.”
“We needed the win badly,” Shaw continued. The guys showed a lot of heart. I’m proud of the way we were mentally tough enough to get the job done.”
The win represented PCC’s first Jayhawk victory , giving PCC a 1-2 record in the Jayhawk West and an 11-6 mark overall. Next on the Beavers’ agenda is a road trip to Garden City on Wednesday, tip-off at 7:30.
PCC 28 35 63
DODGE 29 29 58
Aaron Abram 4-1-2/2-13; Flynn 0-1-4/4-7; Rogers 0-1-0/2-3; Boyd 2-0-2/2-3; Callon 0-0-2/2-2; Abraham 1-1-0-5; DeShun Roberts 4-1-1/4-12; Downs 1-1-0-5; Stivrins 2-0-0-4; Hellman 3-0-0-6