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Dragons Rally to Claim KJCCC Opener at Dodge City

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By Hutchinson CC Sports Information

 

DODGE CITY, Kan. – The No. 22-ranked Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team rallied from 10 points down in the final 3 minutes, 20 seconds on Saturday to earn a Jayhawk Conference-opening victory over No. 11 Dodge City.

Sophomore point guard Journey Armstead scored eight points over that final 3:20 as the Blue Dragons defeated Dodge City 72-70 at the DC3 Student Events Center.

The Blue Dragons improved to 6-0 overall and win their second-straight KJCCC opener. The Dragons play their final non-conference game of the season at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at NOC-Tonkawa at the Sports Arena. Dodge City fell to 6-1 and 0-1.

Hutchinson’s largest deficit of the afternoon was 12 points at 48-36 with 4:36 to play in the third quarter. The Blue Dragons still trailed 68-58 after a Partis Santacaterina layoff with 3:26 to play.

Out of a Dragon timeout with 3:20 remaining, Armstead immediately hit a 3-point goal to cut the lead to seven. After a defensive stop, the deficit shrunk to four on a Kiki Smith 3-pointer with 2:38 remaining.

The teams traded layups and Dodge City led 70-66 with 1:20 to play. Armstead pulled Hutchinson within one with a conventional three-point play after a left-handed drive to the hoop with 1:05 remaining. Armstead then grabbed one of her career-high nine rebounds and was fouled with 11 seconds to play. She made both free throws to give the Dragons a 71-70 lead. Hailey Jackson hit 1 of 2 free throws with 2.7 seconds left to play for a 72-70 lead. Dodge City’s desperation 3-point attempt fell short at the buzzer.

The Blue Dragons completed the 14th comeback from 10 or more points down in the John Ontjes era. The last double-figures comeback was February 8, 2023 against Coffeyville at the Sports Arena when Hutchinson trailed by 18 points.

Smith scored a game-high 25 points on 10 of 15 shooting to lead the Blue Dragons. With was 3 of 8 from 3-point range.

Armstead finished with a season-high 17 points with one 3-pointer and 8 of 11 from the free-thrown line. Armstead added four assists and a pair of steals.

Jackson finished with eight points and seven rebounds. Akaysha Muggeridge finished with seven points.

The Blue Dragons shot 42.6 percent (23 of 54), hitting 6 of 24 from the 3-point line and 20 of 30 from the free-throw line. The Blue Dragons out-rebounded Dodge City 40-30 and the Blue Dragons had to overcome 24 turnovers.

The Blue Dragons shot just 35.3 percent in the first half and trailed Dodge City 36-31 at halftime. The Dragons shot 50 percent in the second half to complete the comeback.

Santacaterina had opponent individual highs, four 3-pointers and five assists to lead Dodge City. The Conquistadors shot 37.1 percent (26 of 70) for the game, hitting 13 of 34 from 3-point range and 5 of 7 from the foul line.

The Blue Dragons didn’t score their first points of the game until the 6:35 mark on the first quarter on a Smith layup. Hutchinson trailed just 4-2 at that point. The Dragons trailed by as many as seven points in the first 10 minutes at 19-12 after a Tayah Morgan 3-pointer with 3:09 to play in the period. The Dragons pulled within 21-20 at the end of the quarter on two Peyton Mosley free throws with 7 seconds left.

The Dragons took their first lead of the game on a Smith 3-pointer with 8:42 to play in the second quarter for a 25-23 lead. The Blue Dragons cored just two points over the next 5:18 as Dodge City built a 36-27 lead. The Dragons trailed 36-31 at halftime.

Hutchinson had its largest deficit of 48-36 after Santacaterina’s 3-pointer with 4:36 to play in the third quarter. The Dragons went on a 9-2 run to pull with 50-45 after a Mosley layup with 3:12 to play in the period. The Dragons trailed 51-47 after three quarters.

GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are 48-30 all-time in the John Ontjes era against nationally ranked opponents. … Kiki Smith had a sixth-straight game scoring in double figures and two-straight games scoring 20 or more points.