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Dragons Outlast Indy to Earn Win in KJCCC Opener

By Hutchinson CC Sports Information


HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Aaron Franklin had his third double-double of the season and the Hutchinson Community College Men’s Basketball team pulled off a defensive feat not done since 2012 on Wednesday night.

The No. 4-ranked Blue Dragons rallied from an early 15-point deficit to earn a 99-94 Jayhawk Conference victory over the Independence Pirates at the Sports Arena.

Hutchinson improved to 7-0 and 1-0 in the KJCCC. The Blue Dragons travel to Cloud County at 4 p.m. on Saturday in Concordia. Independence falls to 2-5 overall and 0-1 in the league.

Franklin scored a career-high 36 points on 16 of 27 overall shooting and 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Franklin scored 24 points in the second half after the Blue Dragons trailed 38-23 with 9:15 left in the first half and 49-46 at halftime.

The Blue Dragons held Independence without a 3-point field goal for the game. The Pirates went 0 of 10 from distance. The last time the Dragons held an opponent without a 3-point goal was Barton, which went 0 of 7 from the 3-point line on February 7, 2012. That was a span of 354 games.

Three other Blue Dragons reached double figures on Wednesday.

Kernan Bundy and Aaron Potter had 12 points each. Potter hit three 3-pointers. Jayden Garrison had 11 points.

Hutchinson was held to less than 100 points for the first time this season, ending a program record six-straight games of scoring in triple figures.

The Blue Dragons shot 44.8 percent (39 of 87), including 13 of 40 from 3-point range and 8 of 11 from the foul line. The Dragons were outrebounded 43-41. The Dragons had 26 assists and 20 turnovers. Steele Gaston-Chapman had a season-high seven assists. Kernan Bundy had five assists.

The Pirates shot 51.0 percent for the game (35 of 68), including 24 of 34 from the foul line.

Johan Nziemi scored 34 points on 13 of 15 shooting and 8 of 10 shooting from the line. Independence had 24 turnovers.

The Blue Dragons scored just six points over the first 5 minutes, 12 seconds of the first half. The Pirates led 21-6 after a 10-0 Independence run. Potter snapped that run with a 3-pointer at the 14:33 mark. The Pirates maintained a double-figure lead through the middle stages of the first half, holding a 41-28 lead with 6:57 left.

Garrison and Franklin hit back-to-back jumpers and then Garrison nailed a 3-pointer to cut the Dragon deficit to 43-35 with 4:34 to play in the half. Independence scored four in a row, but the Blue Dragons ended the half on a 12-2 run and pulled within 49-46 after a Garrison bucket with 33 seconds to play in the first half.

Franklin’s 3-point goal with 17:34 to play tied the game at 51. With the game tied at 64, Potter hit a 3-pointer and Landon Wagler nailed two 3-pointers as Hutchinson opened an 80-73 lead with 9:37 to play. Two Garrison free throws maintained that seven-point lead with two free throws at the 8:15 mark. The Pirates went on a 12-3 run and took an 87-85 lead with 5:01 left.

Franklin took the lead back for good with a 3-pointer with 4:53 remaining. The Pirates pulled within 95-94 after an Nziemi layup with 49 seconds to play in the game. Franklin scored with 34 seconds left for a 97-94 lead and Bundy clinched the victory with two free throws with 1 second to play in the game.