The basketball games Wednesday night between Pratt Community College and Barton County had important conference implications. Things went the Beavers way as PCC swept the visiting Cougars at Dennis Lesh Sports Arena. The Lady Beavers prevailed 65-58 while the men won 71-59.
The basketball games Wednesday night between Pratt Community College and Barton County had important conference implications. Things went the Beavers way as PCC swept the visiting Cougars at Dennis Lesh Sports Arena. The Lady Beavers prevailed 65-58 while the men won 71-59. The first half of the women’s game was pretty low-scoring, just 29-22 in favor of Pratt. But that was by design. “One of our keys to the game was to be patient on offense,” explained head coach Stephanie Thompson. “The longer we held the ball on offense, the less we would have to guard their athleticism on defense. All those possessions of ours that were getting down to 7 seconds, 4 seconds…Our fans in the stands were getting nervous, but we had them (Barton) right where we wanted them.” The offensive patience paid off, as the Lady Beavers worked for good shots, and thus sank 44% of them. By contrast, Barton only shot 30% from the floor in the first half. “Our man defense was really good in the first half,” Thompson noted. “Barton’s low scoring was partly our good defense and partly their bad shooting.” PCC extended the lead a little in the second half. They were up by nine, 52-43, at the 5:00 mark. Lanina Spence scored most of her 13 points during that stretch to keep the Beavers going. “Nina had her best conference game of the season,” Coach Thompson said. “We really needed her tonight with Elle (Stein) not being in rhythm.” Between the 5-minute and 3-minute marks, Tatiana Grant made 3 steals resulting in coast-to-coast lay-ups— with the last being an “and-1”. With 3:00 to go, PCC was up 57-46. At that point, Barton made a little run, but the Lady Beavers held them off. Shanell Dedrick, Spence, Pendry, Teairra Luckett and Grant all made free throws down the stretch to keep the Lady Cougars at arm’s length. PCC took the contest 65-58, which boosted the Lady Beavers ahead of Barton in the conference standings into 5th. Trailing 29-26 at halftime, the PCC men rallied late to best the Cougars. The first half for Pratt was marred by turnovers, missed shots and general poor play. The Beavers began to sort things out following the intermission, however. “Taking care of the ball was huge for us,” head coach Jesse Shaw said. “We only had 2 turnovers in the second half.” With Barton being smoking hot from 3-point land after the break, the Beavers had trouble gaining any traction despite their improved play. They still trailed 48-43 at the media time-out. Kaion Seales had been the main offensive threat for PCC during that stretch. Over the final 9 minutes, however, PCC outscored Barton 28-11 so as to claim a 71-59 win. Rob Davis buried a trio of trifectas to lift the offense. DeShun Roberts and Merrill Holden made some nice defensive plays. “When we get stops, it helps our offense,” Coach Shaw explained. “We can push the ball and then shoot it or attack the basket before the defense has a chance to get set.” Thomas Tshikaya had a nice reverse lay-up and Kevin Allen brought the house down with a dunk as the Beavers were rallying. In the final minute, Pratt made free throws to lengthen their lead. The conference win puts PCC in a second place tie with Hutchinson, who will host the Beavers in an important showdown Saturday.