By Hutchinson CC Sports Information
GREAT BEND, Kan. – The Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team was 1 minute, 16 seconds away from pulling off a huge Region VI Tournament road victory on Tuesday night.
With Hutchinson leading by five points entering the final minute, the Barton Cougars forced three Blue Dragon turnovers and rallied to defeat Hutchinson 72-68 on Tuesday night at the Kirkman Activities Center.
The sixth-seeded Blue Dragons end the 2022-23 season with a 20-12 record. Third-seeded Barton (23-8) advances to play Coffeyville in the Region VI semifinals on Friday in Wichita.
Hutchinson survived a scoreless drought of 9 full minutes and a 14-0 Barton run over that span to build a 68-63 lead when Aaron Franklin worked hard on the offensive glass for a rebound and a putback with 1:16 remaining in the second half.
Barton rallied to score the final nine points of the game in the final 59 seconds.
Despite hitting 10 3-point goals, the Blue Dragons shot just 41.0 percent for the game (25 of 61). The Dragons were 10 of 29 from 3-point range and 8 of 12 from the foul line. Barton shot 56.0 percent (28 of 50), going 3 of 10 from distance and 13 of 19 from the free-throw line. The Dragons had a 39-25 rebounding advantage, but turned the ball over 19 times. Barton held a 22-10 scoring advantage in points off turnovers.
Franklin closed the season with his 10th double-double of the season with 12 points and 14 rebounds to lead Hutchinson.
Cougar Downing scored 16 points to lead the Cougars. Joseph Locandro had 15 points and seven rebounds.
The Dragons got out of the gate fast with the first eight points of the game, all eight points coming from Frederick. Green hit a 3-pointer to give the Dragons a 16-7 lead with 15:19 to play. Franklin scored with 11:22 to go to maintain that nine-point margin at 25-16.
Barton started to chip away, pulling within four at 28-24 on a Locandro 3-pointer with 8:51 to go. Cooper Jackson’s layup with 5:55 to play pulled the Cougars within 31-30.
Franklin stopped that Barton advance with a jump shot and the Dragons went on a 7-2 run to pull out to a 38-32 lead after a Kernan Bundy jumper with 3:36 go. The Dragons went scoreless for the final 3:36 and Barton rallied to tie the game at 38-all at halftime.
Barton extended its run to 14-0 and led 46-38 with 15:07 to play. The Dragons snapped a nine-minute drought with a Franklin bucket at the 14:36 mark.
Green nailed a 3-pointer with 10:18 to go to cut the Barton lead to 50-45. Potter then sandwiched a Kieran Carr layup around two of his own 3-pointers and the Blue Dragons led 55-54 with 7:37 remaining in the second half.
Green sank another 3-pointer for a 64-60 lead with 3:15 to play. Two Carr free throws extended the Dragon led to 66-61. Franklin then scored after an offensive rebound to give the Dragons a 68-63 lead with 1:16 left in the game. Barton then forced three Hutchinson turnovers in the final minute to turn the game around.
GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now 143-52 all-time in the Region VI Tournament, going 45-12 in the quarterfinal round. … The Blue Dragons are now 91-32 all-time against Barton, including 11-4 in the Region VI Tournament. … This was the 31st game of 10 or more 3-pointers in Tommy DeSalme’s two seasons with the Blue Dragons. … The 2022-23 Blue Dragons season record of 3-point goals is 345, which beats the old record by 24 and was done in three less games played. … Aaron Franklin became the 12th Blue Dragon player in history to score 700 points in a season, finishing with 703 points. … Franklin posted his fourth game this season with 14 or more rebounds.