By Bailey Pennycuff / Co-Sports Editor
The Region 6 Tournament was successful for the fourth-seeded Hutchinson Community College volleyball team on Tuesday.
The Blue Dragons faced Butler, yet again, and they battled for four sets. Although Hutch won three of the four sets, they trailed the Grizzlies in each set by at least four points.
The first time the Blue Dragons played Butler this season, they lost in three sets. Then, their second outing, Hutch beat them in three sets.
Tuesday was the tie-settling match for the Blue Dragons and the Grizzlies.
With a total of 26 kills from freshmen outside hitters Camila Espejo and Katelyn Elstun, they led the team to defeat Butler 25-21, 19-25, 25-20, 25-20.
Espejo hit .344 with 13 kills out of 29 swings with three errors. Elstun hit .179 with 13 kills. Additionally, Jenna Thorne earned 11 kills hitting .429 with six block assists and two aces.
Hutchinson will now go on to face top-seeded Seward County noon Sunday, Nov. 10 in Liberal.
Golf – The Hutchinson Community College golf team placed fifth at the NJCAA National Preview on on Friday in Odessa, Texas.
The tournament began on Thursday, and the team shot a 292 – just three off the lead. The Blue Dragons then improved by two strokes on Friday. However, other teams also made improvements throughout the tournament.
Ranger College ran away with the lead and won the Preview with a 16-shot margin. Both No. 1 and No. 2 overall placers were from Ranger.
Freshman Tradgon McCrae was the leading golfer for the Blue Dragons on Friday, placing in a three-way tie for 14th. He shot a 1-over 145.
Sophomore Charlie Crockett placed 17th (another three-way tie) by shooting a 147.
Sophomore Peyton Austin earned his first under-par round with a 71 on Friday. He shot a 76 on Thursday to score 147 total and finished tied for 20th (six-way tie).
Out of the five tournaments they competed in during the fall, the Blue Dragons earned two team championships. In only one of their tournaments did they not place at least in the top five.
The Blue Dragons will begin playing again in March.
Football – On Saturday, No. 5 Garden City defeated No. 4 Hutchinson in Garden City.
Throughout the game, five lead changes occurred and three happened in the fourth quarter.
Garden City scored its first 10 points within 1 minute, 29 seconds in the second quarter with a field goal, followed by a 17-yard touchdown.
The Blue Dragons regained the lead deep into the second quarter with a 1-yard touchdown, made possible by sophomore running back Erin Collins’ 40-yard drive.
This game has been HutchCC’s lowest yardage game of the season with only 179 yards (29 passing, 150 rushing).
Fourteen of Garden City’s points came from three Blue Dragon turnovers.
The exhilarating game ended with a Broncbuster 40-yard field goal with 14 seconds left.
Both Hutchinson and Garden City are now 8-2 overall. The Blue Dragons dropped to No. 6 in the NJCAA football rankings and complete their Jayhawk Conference season at 5-2.
The Broncbusters rose to No. 3. and is a half-game behind first-place Independence, which moved up after Fort Scott had to forfeit all six wins on Tuesday.
Womens’ basketball – The Blue Dragons beat the Washburn University junior varsity 65-34 to start their 2019-2020 season Saturday at the Sports Arena.
This was Hutch’s 19th-consecutive season-opening win.
Sophomore guard Abby Ogle scored a career-high 21 points – her first time to score at least 20 points in a game. She also earned five rebounds, five assists and five steals.
In 38 career games, Ogle has achieved 100 steals for her career.
Out of the entire first quarter, the Ichabods scored only one point. It’s safe to say Hutch’s defense was intense.
The Ichabods committed 27 turnovers.
The Blue Dragon offense started a bit slowly, but shot 47.6 percent the rest of the night. Hutchinson led 11-1 after one quarter and 25-12 at halftime, but opened up the game in the third quarter leading 23-9. Hutch shot 60 percent (9 of 15) within the third period.
This Friday and Saturday, Hutchinson will host Western Nebraska and NEO in the Blue Dragon Classic at the Sports Arena.
Mens’ basketball – The No. 10 Blue Dragons won both of their games in the Seward County/Pizza Hut Classic Friday and Saturday in Liberal.
Freshman guard Josh Baker dropped 25 points in about 28 minutes to lead the Blue Dragons against the Midland Chaps 79-59 on Saturday.
Baker hit 7 of 9 total shots, going 4 of 5 from 3-point range and 7 of 8 free throws.
He also had 13 points in Friday’s game against Eastern Oklahoma State, where the Blue Dragons won and are now 2-0 to kick-off their season.
For the second game in a row, Hutch shot better than 50 percent, shooting 51.1 percent.
The difference between Friday’s and Saturday’s performances was the amount of Hutch turnovers. The Blue Dragons had 29 turnovers against Eastern Oklahoma State and only 13 against Midland.
Hutchinson will face Murray State and Labette this Friday and Saturday at the Sports Arena in the Blue Dragon Classic.