COLBY, Kan. — The Colby Community Building was the place to be Saturday afternoon, as the Trojan basketball teams hosted KJCCC rival Barton County in a highly anticipated double-header.
In game one, Head Coach Antwain Scales and the Lady Trojans started off on the right foot, taking a 17-12 lead after the first quarter.
Just days before, the Trojans were plagued by a slow start, as well as some injuries, that ultimately caused a head-scratching loss to Northwest Kansas Technical College.
Aerihna Afoa made her return to the Trojan lineup after missing the previous contest with an ankle injury. Her presence was felt immediately, tallying 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
The Trojans would take a 29-21 lead into halftime, despite struggling offensively in the second period.
To begin the third quarter, the offensive woes continued, as Colby could muster just seven points, while Barton would claw back in it, getting within 36-34 heading into the final stanza.
Colby would get big contributions from Nyrobi Pillers (17 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks), Kiara Knight (14 points, 7 rebounds), and Alize Ruiz (7 points, 8 rebounds) in route to a 21-point fourth quarter, and a much needed conference victory.
The victory comes after a stretch of four losses in five games, and will perhaps turn the tide for Coach Scales and company.
It will be another quick turnaround for the Trojans, which will hopefully continue the positive momentum, as they will host Neosho County Community College at 5:30 PM on Monday night. The CCC women are now 13-5 overall and 4-5 in the KJCCC.
On the men’s side, it was a high-stakes battle between the Trojans and the #17 Cougars, with first place in the KJCCC West on the line.
The Trojans jumped out to an early seven-point lead, but the Cougars would rally back quickly, tying the game at 14 midway through the first half. From there, the two teams would trade baskets in a low-scoring half, but a few late stops would help Colby take a 28-22 lead into the break.
CCC’s Javion May would get a late steal and a runout to the basket, but get fouled from behind, causing a hard fall, and an injury. In his place, Matt McFarlane would knock down the free throws and take Colby into the locker room.
Surprisingly, May would immediately return to begin the second half, playing through visible pain. In a gutty effort, the Sophomore from Chicago would give CCC a much-needed 11 points, nine rebounds, and an assist.
The second half was a polar opposite of the first, with both teams putting up high offensive numbers. However, Colby would keep the Cougars at arms length for much of the second half.
When Barton would make their brief scoring runs, it seemed as though Colby would always get a big shot from Alex Fanchini, who provided a game-high 24 points, on 6/11 shooting from deep.
The Cougars would tie the game late at 58-all, but at the snap of the fingers, Colby would go on a 7-0 run to regain control of the game.
The Trojans would utilize every athlete on the floor in the effort, getting 18 points from Demarcus Sharp (4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals), as well as 13 points from Matt McFarlane (3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 assist), 8 points from Eddie Davis (7 rebounds), and 6 points from Domonic Harvey.
The all-around team effort would be just enough to edge out the nationally ranked Cougars, and give Colby first place in the KJCCC West.
The 80-74 win is CCC’s 15th victory of the season, and their 7th in conference play. The Trojans, now 15-3, 7-2 in the KJCCC, will host Neosho on Monday night at 7:30, looking for their fifth-straight win. Monday night will mark CCC’s 4th-consecutive home contest, when they look to maintain their undefeated home record.
Coach Rusty Elmore
Stat graphics and Featured Image provided by ColbyTrojans.com
Jackson Schneider –
email: [email protected]