Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

New season, new role for Blue Dragon sophomore

Friday, February 16th, 2018

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

As the postseason nears for the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team, veteran players will have to step up as leaders to help get the Blue Dragons in top form for the regional and, maybe, the national tournament in March.

One of those players is sophomore guard Tiylar Cotton.

Cotton was a member of last year’s team that went 35-2 en route to the NJCAA national championship. One year later, he hopes to return to the championship game as a much more experienced and well-rounded player.

Born and raised in Wichita, Cotton attended Wichita North High School, where he was a 2016 graduate. He is one of the two current players on the Blue Dragon roster who hail from Kansas.

Cotton decided to play at HutchCC because he felt they had a great coaching staff, and indeed they do. Since head coach Steve Eck’s arrival in 2009, the Blue Dragons had amassed a 231-46 record prior to this season.

Cotton played in almost every game his freshman year, only absent in five games. He  averaged 9.2 minutes per game, as he had to play behind Hutchinson all-time great guard Samajae Haynes-Jones, who now plays at Wichita State.

Throughout the year, Cotton posted solid totals for the amount of time he played. After his team won the national championship in 2017, Cotton listed it as one of his greatest accomplishments.

“Winning a national championship was an unreal feeling,” Cotton said. “We had been working all year for that, and when the time came, it seemed like a dream.”

This season is a bit different for Cotton. He now has doubled his minutes per game, and his role for the team has changed. The game against Pratt on Jan. 24 was his best game yet – he posted a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while also getting six assists.

With only four games left in the regular season, Cotton looks to stay focused

“My goals for the rest of the season are to just focus on winning the rest of our conference games,” Cotton said. “After that, then we can worry about regionals and nationals.”

The Blue Dragons are currently 21-4 (17-4 conf.) and ranked No. 14th in the country. They will next play Saturday at the Sports Arena against Cowley. It will also be the college’s annual Pink Out Night.

Blue Dragon men beat Garden City, women ice cold in rare home loss

Friday, February 9th, 2018

By The Collegian staff

The Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team kept pace with first-place Barton Community College, as the Blue Dragons beat Garden City Community College 92-82 on Wednesday at the Sports Arena.

Sophomore J.J. Rhymes scored 21 points, leading the Blue Dragons, who remain one game behind Barton and tied with Coffeyville for second place.

Three Blue Dragons had 19 points each, including Devonte Bandoo, Curtis Hollis and James Rojas.

The win wrapped up Hutchinson’s 52nd 20-win season, as the Blue Dragons now are 20-4 overall and 16-4 in conference play.

The Blue Dragons will have another home game on Saturday, as they welcome rivals Butler to the Sports Arena.

Women ice cold in loss – The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team dug an early hole and never climbed out of it Wednesday, as the Blue Dragons suffered a 56-48 loss to Garden City Community College.

It was only the fifth time Garden City ever beat the Blue Dragons at the Sports Arena, and it was Garden City’s first win there since 2004.

Hutchinson scored just two first-quarter points and was behind 11-2. The Blue Dragons missed 12 of 13 shots in the first quarter.

Dejanae Roebuck led Hutch with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The loss dropped Hutchinson to 20-4 overall and 16-4 in the Jayhawk Conference. That puts the Blue Dragons in a three-way tie for second place with Cowley and Independence, and two games behind Seward County with six games remaining.

Photos: Salt City Bowl

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Photos by Merissa Anderson

Juwaun Johnson dives into the end zone and scores a touchdown during the Salt City Bowl on Dec. 1 at Gowans Stadium.

Juwaun Johnson dives into the end zone and scores a touchdown during the Salt City Bowl on Dec. 1 at Gowans Stadium.

Time for Blue Dragons to go bowling

Friday, December 1st, 2017

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

After four months of football, Hutchinson Community College’s season will end on Saturday, and it’s been a wild one.

As Hutchinson is bowl eligible, the Blue Dragons will get to play one final game of the season. Before Thanksgiving, it was announced that the Blue Dragons will face Eastern Arizona in the Salt City Bowl. This will be coach Rion Rhoades’ seventh Salt City Bowl, and the opponent is a familiar one as they played Eastern Arizona back in 2010.

Rhoades believes it’s going to be a challenging matchup.

“Their offense is hard to get prepared for because it’s so unorthodox, you don’t see it much these days,” he said. “It’s hard to simulate in practice. And on defense, well, everything they’re good at, we struggle with.”

The Gila Monsters run a flexbone offense, a formation that is rare in college football.

Although the Blue Dragons are up against a good team, Rhoades still has a high amount of confidence in his squad

“After Thanksgiving, everyone showed up very engaged in practice. I think they know that we’re facing a good football team. Their hungry and we got something to prove here.”

The Blue Dragons will play the Gila Monsters on home turf. Game time is at 1 p.m. and will be hosted at Gowans Stadium.

In a season where records were broken, comebacks were made and 90 men came together, it’s safe to say this season has been one for the books.

The season started off with a rollercoaster of emotions, as the Blue Dragons came back from 25-point deficit to rallying off one of the most exciting games of the season, winning 50-42 against Coffeyville Community College. This comeback was also the largest in Hutchinson’s 86-year history.

The following week, Hutchinson travel to Iowa to face No. 12 Iowa Western. This matchup was highly anticipated and it proved to be an exciting one. However, the Blue Dragons couldn’t top the Reivers falling 27-21, their first loss of the season.

The Blue Dragons then went on to win their next five games, highlighted a by 91-0 thrashing of Rezolution Prep. During this game, as many as seven team records were broken including, most points in a single game, largest margin of victory and most touchdowns scored. Hutchinson reached its peak national ranking during this time at No. 9. The Blue Dragons also became bowl eligible after their sixth win of the season.

Hard times hit the Blue Dragons the following week. On a cold, wet, homecoming night, their winning streak ended by No. 16 Butler Community College, 38-10.

Next, Hutchinson couldn’t find its footing against Independence Community College as the Blue Dragons fell 24-19. The Blue Dragons made it three straight losses with an upset loss to Fort Scott Community College in the final home game of the regular season.

In the regular-season finale, the Blue Dragons came together to play a solid game against Dodge City Community College. After two special team touchdowns, Hutchinson won 27-6.

Basketball teams have been road warriors so far in conference play

Friday, December 1st, 2017

By Cassidy Crites
Staff writer

For the first month of basketball season, the Hutchinson Community College teams have had anything but a home-court advantage. Out of the Blue Dragons’ first eight conference games, six have been away.

In November, the Sports Arena hosted two different volleyball tournaments. First was the KCAC volleyball tournament. The arena also had the opportunity to host the NJCAA National Volleyball tournament. These events took place over two different weekends, resulting in road games for the basketball squads.

However, there are positives to having so many road games at the beginning of the season. The Blue Dragon teams play four straight home games in the middle of January.

Women’s coach John Ontjes wasn’t fond of playing so many road games but has found the positives in the situation.

“There has been a disadvantage with how many new kids we have on our team not playing at home, but picking up a few road wins now will help when we return the home games in January,” Ontjes said.

Despite all the traveling, both men and women’s Blue Dragon teams are off to a good start. The women post a 6-2 overall record and 4-2 in the conference after Wednesday’s win against Colby. Their two losses have come from Seward County Community College and Cloud County Community College, both on their opponent’s court.

The men are 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the conference. Their one loss came from Cloud County, also at the Thunderdome.

While some athletes feel the effect of not playing on their court, Ontjes does not feel as though it has altered the way the girls play.

“It would’ve been nice to start the conference with two home games, but I don’t think it’s made that big of an impact on the way we played. The kids we have didn’t know the difference,” Ontjes said.

Up next the Blue Dragons hit the road again to face Garden City on Saturday. Hutch rounds out the eight-game start Dec. 6 at Butler.

Athlete of the week, Nov. 19-25

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Jada Mickens, women’s basketball

The week: Mickens had quite the week in leading the Blue Dragons to a pair of Jayhawk Conference victories. The Liberal freshman first had eight points, five assists and 20 rebounds in a 63-53 win against Coffeyville, and then she had 18 points and 12 rebounds in a 75-62 win against Neosho County.

The season: Mickens is averaging 12.4 points and 11.4 rebounds a game.

Athlete of the week: Jerry Jacobs

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Athlete of the week, for Nov. 5-11

Jerry Jacobs, football

The week: Jacobs helped the Blue Dragons finish the regular season in a positive way, as he had five tackles, an interception and a pass broken up in Hutchinson’s 27-6 win at Dodge City. Jacobs also returned a blocked field goal 86 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Jacobs has 33 tackles this season for the 7-4 Blue Dragons, who finish the season Dec. 2 in the Salt City Bowl against Eastern Arizona.

Football heads to bowl game after beating Dodge City

Friday, November 17th, 2017

By Lucas Barlow

Sports Editor

The Hutchinson Community College football team’s regular season came to a close as the Blue Dragons cruised to a 27-6 win over Dodge City Community College on Saturday.

The Blue Dragons snapped their three-game losing streak, finishing 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the Jayhawk Conference. The Conquistadors finish 4-7 and 1-6.

After leading by seven late in the first half, the Blue Dragons pulled off one impressive play to head into halftime. Dodge City lined up for a 24-yard field goal when Hutchinson blocked the kick. The play wasn’t over however, because Hutchinson’s Jerry Jacobs picked up the loose ball, and took it back for a 86-yard touchdown. The Blue Dragons led 13-0 at halftime, and they didn’t slow down in the second half.

Hutchinson used an interception, a goal line stop, and a punt return for a touchdown to secure the victory over the Conquistadors.

The Blue Dragon defense held Dodge City to 237 total yards and 51 rushing, but Hutchinson compiled only 206 total yards for themselves. Three running backs, B.J. Emmons, Dezmon Jackson, and Andrew Lee split Hutchinson’s 125 rushing yards. Quarterback Eric Forrest went 12 of 16 on passing attempts, for a total of 69 yards.

Sunday’s win marked Rion Rhoades’ 80th victory as head coach for the Blue Dragons. He also reached this mark faster than any other coach in Hutchinson Community College history.

Next up for the Blue Dragons will be the Salt City Bowl on Dec. 2. They will face the Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters at Gowans Stadium. This will be the second meeting between the two teams, playing each other last in the 2010 Salt City Bowl.

HutchCC volleyball battles but falls in first round at NJCAA Tournament

Thursday, November 16th, 2017
HutchCC's Katie Jorn tips the ball over the net during the NJCAA Tournament on Thursday at the Sports Arena. Hutchinson lost in three sets to Iowa Western.

HutchCC

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

The opening round for the NJCAA Volleyball National Championship started Thursday morning, as No. 15 Hutchinson Community College opened play vs No. 2 Iowa Western.

Although the Reivers topped the Blue Dragons in three sets, the match was a lot closer than the score suggested. The Reivers started the first set red hot, as they jumped to an early 4-0 lead. Shortly after, the Blue Dragons came back with a run of their own, to lead 6-5.

However, it was all Iowa Western after that. They won the first set by winning 25-16, the widest margin of victory between the two opponents. The Reivers had lead the entire second set, until the Blue Dragons tied it up 20-20, after being down by four points. From there, both teams traded points, but Iowa Western managed to shake off Hutchinson, to win the second set, 25-23.

The most exciting set came in the final one of the morning. Although being down 2-0 in sets, the Blue Dragons weren’t going to back down. Hutchinson held only their second lead of the match in the early moments of the third set, leading 3-2. In a back-and-forth affair, there was four lead changes and eight ties in the last set alone. However, the Reivers pulled away late to shake off the determined Blue Dragons, 25-21, advancing to the quarterfinals later Thursday evening.

“We were a little more nervous than I thought we’d be starting out, just a little out of sync,” HutchCC coach Patrick Hall said. “We didn’t establish our middle as much as we need to, especially against a big team.”
Iowa Western played three 6-feet, 1-inch or taller.

Hall did praise the Blue Dragons for their overall clean game.

“The thing most telling about our performance was through three sets, we only had eight, nine, and five errors. Those are great numbers for us, especially against Iowa Western. I was really happy about that.”

Notable player for the Blue Dragons, sophomore Nina Pevic, said her team gave it their all Thursday morning.

“We tried our best out there and really believed in each other,” Pevic said. “We just tried to have fun. Being in the top 16 and playing in the National Championship is so exciting in itself, but the result is the result.”

Pevic lead the Blue Dragons in kills with 11, hitting an outstanding .688. Sophomore Paige Hiebert had eight kills and two assists. Sophomore Katie Jorn tallied 26 assists and three kills. Iowa Western’s Caitlyn Cooper lead the Reivers in kills with 21. Irina Alekseeva had 14 kills.

The Blue Dragons will continue tournament play, as they compete in the consolation bracket on Friday at 10 a.m. They will take on St. Petersburg, Florida.

Blue Dragon volleyball relishes underdog role at national tournament

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

By Lucas Barlow

Sports Editor

The road for the Hutchinson Community College volleyball team will end in its own arena, as the NJCAA National Championship is being hosted at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.

The season has been a rollercoaster of emotions so far for the team, but they’re not done yet. As the No. 15 seed, the Blue Dragons opened the national tournament on Thursday against the No. 2 seed, Iowa Western.
The journey to the national championship hasn’t been an easy ride but it certainly has been a memorable one.

Hutchinson opened the Region 6 tournament against a good Dodge City Community College team, who the Blue Dragons took down 3-0. The semifinals was more of the same, as they breezed by Garden City Community College 3-0. This set up a marquee matchup against the No. 3 team in the country, Seward County Community College – a team Hutchinson lost to only a week previously.

As the underdogs, the Blue Dragons shocked the NJCAA, as they upset the one-loss Saints in three sets, thanks to the efforts of sophomores Paige Hiebert, Tatyana Ndekwe, and Patricia Joseph.

Hutchinson coach Patrick Hall had many positives to say about his team.

“Although Seward had one of their best teams in many years, we definitely played one of our best matches of the season,” Hall said. “Each set was won by two points, so it doesn’t get much closer than that, but we stayed focused, and did what we had to do. It was a great win.”

The Blue Dragons claimed the Region 6 title that night, but their journey is far from over. In just over a week, Hutchinson had to prepare for a talented Iowa Western team, an opponent that was all too familiar. In late September, the two teams met for the first time, a match that ended in a nail-bitter, with Iowa Western winning 3-2.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the team is looking forward to playing Iowa Western,” Hall said. “Although they have some talented athletes, we’re confident that we can play with teams of that caliber.”

Although the Blue Dragons will be underdogs on their home court, Hall still believes in his team and has many keys to success.

“We need to be a strong inside-out team, meaning we need to establish our middle, so it opens up our outside for scoring opportunities,” Hall said. “Defense is also another big key. We’ve been playing really good defensively lately, and if we can continue that in the tournament, we’ll be able to play with anybody.”