When the Pratt Community College Beavers took on the Neosho County Community College Panthers in the first round of the NJCAA Region VI tournament, they had a lot going for them. The game was at Pratt, in the tournament they were ranked sixth over the Panthers who were ranked eleventh and the Beavers had won nine of their last 12 including a 114-73 victory over Dodge City Community College.
What they didn’t have was an answer for the Panthers Corbett Kimberlin who lit up the first half with eight 3-pointers in a row while the team was hitting 66 percent of their field goals and 72 percent of their three pointers.
Although the Beavers scored first, the onslaught of 3-pointers continued and the Panthers had a 53-33 lead at half time.
The Beavers made a valiant comeback attempt in the second half and actually outscored the Panthers 57-51. They scrapped for each rebound, played tough defense and got some good looks at the basket.
After being behind by 25 points at the 14:04 mark in the second, the Beavers were able to cut the lead to 10 but time was running out. The Beavers had fouls to give so they fouled to stop the clock and force the Panthers to make free throws.
But Kimberlin kept getting the inbound and getting fouled. He hit 10-10 from the free throw line that resulted in a 104-90 loss for the Beavers to end their season.
Kimberlin ended the game with 10-13 field goals, 9-10 3- pointers, 10-10 free throws and three rebounds for a total of 39 points for the Panthers.
The game was a tale of two different Beaver teams. As a team in the first half, they hit 38 percent of their field goals and only 16 percent of their three pointers. Those are tough numbers when the Panthers were shooting the lights out. Beaver free throws were at 58 percent in the first but Neosho was hitting 80 percent.
In the second half, the Beavers found the range and fought back but the Panthers seemed to have an answer every time the Beavers put on a surge. All the Beavers numbers improved in the second with 46 percent for field goals, 23 percent for 3-pointers and 76 percent from the free throw line.
By the numbers, the Beavers had a pretty good game and they did score 90 points. The Beavers had more points in the paint 42-20, more points off turnovers 19-10, More second chance points 16-10 and more bench points 38-16.
Both teams hit 33 field goals but the key factor in the game was the three pointers where the Beavers went 7-33 and the Panthers were 18-28.
The Beavers were led by Tommy Thomas who scored 26 with three 3-pointers, 7-10 free throws and three rebounds. Jamal Horton came off the bench and had 25 points with two 3-pointers, 3-3 free throws and five rebounds. Zool Kueth and Julian Eziukwu both tallied 11 points each and a pair of 3-pointers each. Kueth had four rebounds and Eziukwu had two.
Harrison Eghan came off the bench and hit 6 points with two free throws and 15 rebounds.