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Dragons Answer Back with Big Win at Independence


Hutchinson CC Sports Information


INDEPENDENCE, Kan. ( – The Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team had the answer head coach Tommy DeSalme was looking for after Saturday’s 20-point loss at Garden City.

Powered by the second-most made 3-pointers in single-game history and six players scoring in double figures, the Blue Dragons rebounded from Saturday’s loss in a big way with a 115-94 KJCCC victory over the Independence Pirates at the ICC Fieldhouse.

The Blue Dragons improved to 13-6 overall and 7-6 in the Jayhawk Conference with the victory, which also extended their winning streak over Independence to 18 games. Hutchinson plays host to Cloud County at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Sports Arena. Independence fell to 6-13 overall and 3-0 in the KJCCC.

With eight different players sinking at least 3-pointer on Wednesday, the Blue Dragons hit 17 of 41 from 3-point range to come within one trey of knotting the program single-game record, which was set on Nov. 1, 2022 against Fort Scott with 18 pointers. Aaron Franklin was 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Jackson Leyba his three key 3-pointers in a second-half Blue Dragon surge. Aaron Potter also had three 3-point goals, as did sophomore Jayden Garrison, who know has 10 3-pointers in last two games.

After leading 53-45 at halftime, the Blue Dragons appeared to be in trouble as the Pirates closed to within 65-59 and Franklin was strapped with his fourth personal foul. Without their leading scorer on the floor for the next 9 minutes, 52 seconds, the Blue Dragons took over the game with a 36-21 run.

Leyba, Potter and Antonio Green combined for six 3-pointers in that stretch. Hutchinson’s lead grew to 20 points for the first time on a Potter 3-pointer with 10 minutes to play. When Franklin returned 9:52 later, the Blue Dragons led 101-79 after a Cristian Carroll bucket with 6:22 to play.

The Blue Dragons reached the 100-point mark for the first time in five games shooting 49.4 percent (40 of 81) and 18 of 27 from the free-throw line.

Franklin led the Blue Dragons with 20 points on 5 of 9 overall shooting. Franklin added four rebounds and two steals.

Potter matched a season high with 15 points. Garrison also had 15 points. Kernan Bundy had 12 points and five rebounds. Carroll scored a career-best 11 points, as did Re’Sean Frederick.

The Blue Dragons out-rebounded Independence 47-37 with 14 offensive rebounds. The Dragons had 18 turnovers, but forced 28 Pirates turnovers. The Dragons had a 38-18 advantage in points off turnovers.

Josh Smith had 27 points to lead Independence. Kam Parker had 19 points, Ja’Tavis Groomes had 17 points and Johan Nziemi had 18 points after scoring 36 against the Blue Dragons in the first meeting.

Independence shot 51.7 percent for the game (31 of 60), hitting 6 of 18 from 3-point range and 28 of 46 from the free-throw line.

Powered by 3-point goals from Frederick, Franklin, Garrison and Potter, the Blue Dragons opened leads of 11-2 and 17-8 in the first 4:17 of the game. After Indy cut the lead to four points, the Dragons responded with an 11-0 run to construct a 40-25 lead after a Franklin free throw with 6:52 to play.

The Pirates responded with a 7-0 run to pull within40-33 with 4:31 to go in the half. Back-to-back jumpers from Garrison and Carroll upped the Dragon lead to 47-34 with 3:40 to play in the half. Hutchinson lead 53-45 at halftime.

The Blue Dragons shot 51.2 percent (21 of 41) in the second half, including 11 of 20 from 3-point range to fend off the Pirates. Hutchinson’s outscored Independence 62-49 in the final 20 minute.

GAME NOTES – This was all-time win No. 1,887. The Dragons are now 55-27 all-time against Independence, including 18-8 at the ICC Fieldhouse. … The 115 points are the ninth-highest point total in the Tommy DeSalme era. The Blue Dragons tie the 1992, 1994 and 2017 teams with the most 100-point games in a season. … The 62 points in the second half was the 12th time in the DeSalme era to score 60 points in a half. … This was Jackson Leyba‘s fourth game with three 3-point goals. … The Blue Dragons are now 4-4 in true rad games.