Posts Tagged ‘Blue Dragons’

End of the road for Blue Dragons

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

The dream is finally over for the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team.

The daunting challenge of winning back-to- back national championships proved too difficult for

the Blue Dragons as they exited the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in the second round Wednesday night at the Sports Arena, falling to Florida SouthWestern State 80-65.

“They’re a good team,” Blue Dragons coach Steve Eck said. “We got their best shot tonight, and it showed.”

Many would say this is one of the more “rollercoaster-esque” seasons in recent years, as Hutchinson

experienced many highs and lows throughout the past six months. They also graduate one of

the most dynamic duos in sophomores J.J. Rhymes and Devonte Bandoo. However, the Blue

Dragons have nothing to be disappointed in, as they finish another great season with a, overall

29-7 record and fourth straight appearance at the national tournament.

The Sports Arena was the place to be Wednesday night, as the 11th-seeded Blue Dragons took on the sixth-seeded Buccaneers from Florida SouthWestern State in a highly-anticipated second-round game. Right from the beginning, it was apparent that the Buccaneers were hungry to knock off the defending national champions on their home court. The game was tight for a majority of the first half, with the Blue Dragons staying within 10 points, but after a

media timeout late in the half, things started to get ugly for Hutchinson.

Up 37-29 at the half, the Buccaneers did not slow their scoring in the second half, as they repeatedly knocked down

shots. Florida SouthWestern used its quick transition game and lethal scoring ability to put the

game to rest early.

After the first media timeout of the half, the Buccaneers were up almost by 20, and the Blue Dragons didn’t have enough firepower to get back in it. Hutchinson’s season was over 14 minutes later.

The Buccaneers shot an impressive 52.5 percent, while the Blue Dragons were held to 38.9 percent.
“Florida SouthWestern is well rounded, they run good offense, they play tough defense and it was tough to score out there,” Eck said.

Eck also stated that the height mismatch was difference maker and that the Buccaneers were no doubt the best team they’ve played all year.

The Blue Dragons graduate six sophomores this year- each of them playing vital parts on this year’s squad. However, Bandoo and Rhymes will go down as two of the best players in Hutchinson history. Rhymes finishes seventh in Blue Dragon leading scorers (1,295 points), while Bandoo finishes 15th (1,072 points). “I wouldn’t want to go out with any other group of guys,” Rhymes said in an emotional post-game interview. “We had our ups and downs, but their family that I wouldn’t want to trade for anything else, and I thank them for

that.

“I also want to thank God for giving me this opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what he

has for me in the future.”

All of the sophomores leave will leave HutchCC with 64 total wins, a conference championship and of course, the 2017 national championship.

HutchCC women get bid to NJCAA Tournament

Monday, March 12th, 2018

By The Collegian staff

The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team’s season isn’t finished after all.

Monday morning, the Blue Dragons learned they got one of the eight at-large bids to the NJCAA Tournament next week in Lubbock, Texas. The Blue Dragons are the No. 18 seed in the 24-team field and will take on 15 seed San Jacinto at 2 p.m. Monday in Lubbock.

This will be the sixth time in seven years the Blue Dragons will be at the national tournament, and the seventh time overall under coach John Ontjes. They were national runner-up in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and they finished third in 2013.

Last year, the Blue Dragons lost in the second round.

Hutchinson didn’t have one of their stronger teams under Ontjes this season, but they still went 27-6 overall and 21-5 in the Jayhawk Conference. That placed the Blue Dragons second, two games behind Seward County.

Hutchinson’s at-large prospects seemed to take a hit with a 70-50 Region 6 semifinal loss to Independence, which then lost to Seward County in the championship game.

But the Blue Dragons still made it.

The Hutchinson-San Jacinto winner plays again at 6 p.m. March 20 against No. 2 Gulf Coast.

Blue Dragon bummer: Coffeyville repeats as Region 6 champion

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

PARK CITY – Hartman Arena was the stage for the third installment of the Hutchinson Community College-Coffeyville men’s basketball clash.

The highly-anticipated Region 6 Tournament championship matchup did not disappoint the fans. The game featured 16 lead changes, 15 ties and no more than an eight-point lead for either team.

However, it was the Red Ravens who had the final lead as the clock hit zeros. Coffeyville defeated Hutchinson 82-80 and repeated as Region 6 champions, earning an automatic bid to the NJCAA Tournament in Huchinson.

The Red Ravens won two of the three matchups against the Blue Dragons this season, by two points each time.

“Coffeyville was tougher than us tonight,” HutchCC coach Steve Eck said. “We couldn’t score inside very well tonight either, and the whole team was in foul trouble, which really hurts us.” With 34 seconds left in the game, Coffeyville sophomore guard T.J. Washington drove to the lane, making a near-impossible go-ahead lay up, putting the Red Ravens up by a point.

After a Hutchinson timeout, the Blue Dragons turned the ball over, forcing them to foul the Red Ravens. The Blue Dragons’ top scorer, Devonte Bandoo, had to exit the game with his fifth foul and the Coffeyville made one of his two free throws, putting the score at 82-80. Tiylar Cotton’s potential game-winning 3-pointer as time expired was wide-left, giving the Red Ravens their second consecutive regional title.

James Rojas, a freshman forward for the Blue Dragons, had another outstanding game, scoring 14 points at the half, and finishing with 21 on the night. Sophomore Robert Whitfield also dropped in 14 first half points.

The leading scorers for the Blue Dragons, J.J. Rhymes and Devonte Bandoo, didn’t reach double figures till mid second half.

Hutchinson shot 41 percent from the field, while Coffeyville shot an even 50 percent. Washington was the highest scorer for the Red Ravens with 19 points.

Although, the Blue Dragons fall to 28-6, their season might not be over yet. They will have to wait until Monday, to find out if they will get one of the eight at-large bids for the NJCAA National Tournament.

“It’s a great conference. Every night we have to battle, so we’re all waiting for a call,” Rojas said.

The Blue Dragons were in the same situation last year when, of course, they won the national championship.

“I hope we make in,” Eck said. “We made it to the regional championship and played a great team, but you just never know.”

Battle of the sexes: ‘Scouts’ vs. HutchCC women’s basketball

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Opinion Page Editor

The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team has a record of 26-5 so far in the season. Who do they have to thank, at least in part, for their drive and hard work other than each other?

Well there is a group of male HutchCC students called, “The Scout Team” that could answer that question.

Blue Dragons coach John Ontjes decided to push the girls and make them work harder, so his idea was to find a group of male HutchCC students who aren’t doing collegiate athletics, but played in high school or were involved in athletics, and practice plays and defensive strategies with the girls.

Before games, the male students scrimmage the women’s team to boost their skills and abilities.

Sara Cramer, a freshman guard from Dighton, said, “It makes us tougher by raising the intensity of practices because they never let up.”

Ti Kimbro, a redshirt sophomore, mentioned how much fun the boys are.

“They make us want to play, and they get us hyped up when we don’t feel like practicing,” Kimbro said.

In addition to that, freshman Coretta Hopkins said, “Shout out to my boy, Chase Swanson.”

If that doesn’t explain the relationship the guys and women’s basketball team have with each other, not much else would.

One of the HutchCC males that helps the girls is Chase Swanson, a Buhler graduate. He began doing this because he knew the coaches growing up. His dad, Ryan, was a coach at HutchCC. He also works in the AD office under Josh Gooch and Steve Kappenman.

Since Swanson spends so much time with them, he was more than happy to accept the offer to become part of the “Scout Team”.

“I had been injured a lot my senior year of high school and couldn’t play, so it was a chance for me to get back to it,” Swanson said. “Plus, all of the girls are really nice and funny, so it’s really relaxed at practice and we joke around.”

Swanson also said that he wants to participate again next year.

The scrimmages are not YMCA kind of basketball, it’s like watching an actual basketball game. One of the assistant coaches creates plays for the guys and tells them what to do, while the other assistant coach calls plays for the Blue Dragons.

With the agility of the boys, and the intuition and teamwork of the girls, it makes for a healthy competition. The boys are expected to play rough, so the girls have to push themselves and challenge themselves in a way that other women’s teams won’t likely be able to do.

“They’re the best people we’re going to play against”, said sophomore guard Tia Bradshaw.

When asked how hard the boys push the girls and how they make the team better, Cramer answered, “They have more skill set and it brings a lot of diversity.”

Basketball teams complete regular seasons with wins

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Hutchinson Community College regular-season basketball comes to a close, as both

men and women traveled Monday to Dodge City for the finale.

The No. 22-ranked women’s team won their 25th game of the season, beating the Conquistadors 50-35. The Blue Dragons shot 42.9 percent from the field, but only hit 2 of 15

3-pointers.

Freshman Jada Mickens was the top scorer from both teams with 12 points, while sophomore Alicia Brown and freshman Sara Cramer scored eight a piece. Hutchinson’s defense was once again outstanding, limiting Dodge City to 30.4 percent shooting.

The Blue Dragons finished the regular season with a 25-5 overall record, and finished tied for second place with Independence Community College in the Jayhawk Conference. Hutchinson will be seeded No. 2 for the upcoming Region 6 tournament. They hosted Pratt Community College in the opening around on Thursday, with the winner moving to Monday’s quarterfinals in Park City to play the winner of Garden City Community College and Northwest Kansas Tech.

The No. 11-ranked men’s team won their 10th-consecutive game in Dodge City, as they

breezed past the Conquistadors 76-58. After HutchCC scored the first eight points, eight points was the closest deficit, as the Blue Dragons dominated all night.

Sophomore J.J. Ryhmes was the leading scorer for both teams with 22 on the night. He also became the eighth player to score over 1,200 career points in HutchCC history. Sophomore Devonte Bandoo added 12 points.

Dodge City only shot an abysmal 27.3 percent on the night, while Hutchinson shot 41.9 percent.

The men also finished the season in a second-place tie, with Barton Community College in the Jayhawk Conference at 21-5.

The Blue Dragons will be No. 2 seed in the Region 6 tournament. They hosted Cloud

County on Thursday. The winner moves to Sunday’s quarterfinals in Park City, taking on the winner between Northwest Kansas Tech and Independence.

Lucas Barlow

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.