HCC Sports Information
The Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team knows it will be at home for the opening round of the Region VI Tournament. Now it’s just a matter of what seed the Blue Dragons will begin postseason play with.
Tied for second place, both Hutchinson and Cloud County will meet in the 2011 regular-season finale at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Sports Arena. The game will be broadcast live on Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) and on sister station KWBW-AM (1450) beginning at 7:20 p.m. with Glen Grunwald (play-by-play) and Rusty Hilst (analysis) calling the action. The game will also be videostreamed on the Blue Dragon Sports Network beginning at 7:20 p.m.
The winner of tonight’s game will lock up the second place and the second seed out of the Jayhawk West for the Region VI Tournament. The loser will either finish third or fourth. That result hinges on the Dodge City-Garden City outcome. If Garden City wins, the Hutch-Cloud loser would be third out of the West. If Dodge City wins, the Conquistadors would take third and the Dragon-T-Bird loser would fall to fourth place.
The Blue Dragons won their third-straight game, rallying from a late deficit to defeat Pratt 62-60 on Wednesday night at Pratt. Cloud County won its final regular-season home game on Wednesday, knocking off Butler 63-59.
After struggling to get critical stops late in conference games this season, the Blue Dragons got a key one on Wednesday against Pratt. After Joe Mitchell’s free throw with 22 seconds remaining gave HCC a 62-60 lead, the Blue Dragons forced Pratt’s Justin Ikhide guarded shot and Dylan Frantz grabbed the rebound, passed it ahead out of trouble as time ran out to gain a huge road victory.
Wednesday’s game was the first time in eight games that HCC had held an opponent to less than 70 points for the first time in eight games. That feat had been done in 10 of HCC’s first 21 games.
The Blue Dragons will face a Cloud County team that averages 76.2 points offensively and allows 68.1 points defensively. The Thunderbirds (19-10, 9-6) shoot 46.3 percent overall and 34.5 percent from 3-point range for first-year coach Chad Eshbaugh. Cloud County is the top 3-point shooting team in the Jayhawk West. Defensively, the Thunderbirds allow 39.2 percent overall and 32.0 percent from long range.
Devon Branch is Cloud County’s leading scorer at 14.5 points per game, shooting 51 percent from the field and getting to the line an average of 5.6 times per game. Richard Carter averages 12.8 points per game.