Greyhound women hold off Barton County
Fort Scott Community College's women withstood a Barton County rally and held on for a 62-59 victory in their home opener at Arnold Arena Saturday afternoon.
The Greyhounds (2-0) had a 14-point lead with 8 minutes remaining but the visiting Cougars (1-1) got within 1 with 2:50 to go and within 2 three times in the final 1:36.
"I went to the locker room (afterward) and told them that was definitely a game of heart," Fort Scott head coach Diana Couch said after winning her home debut. "The main thing I told them when we were in there is that there is nine of us and they did something incredible."
Barton County's first and only lead of the game was 4-0 in the first minute of play.
A 7-0 run for the Greyhounds saw them extend their second-half lead to 54-40 with 8:05 to go.
The Cougars then held Fort Scott without a field goal as they went on a 14-1 run capped by a Kyndall Bowers 3-point goal -- her only basket of the game -- with 2:50 left that cut the deficit to 55-54.
Valencia Kelly made it a three-point game when she scored a layup with 2:30 left. Raven Ward made one of two free throws for Barton with 1:36 left.
Joy Hathaway took a pass from Shadara Hampton for a layup with 1:10 to go to boost the Greyhound lead back to 4 at 59-55. Annie Kassongo followed with a layup for Barton with 41 seconds left.
Kelly scored a pull-up jumper from the left side to make it 61-57 with 21 seconds left. Hannah Rotollo cut the margin to 2 one last time, 61-59, with 10 seconds to go.
Barton County fouled to stop the clock. Sherokee Bloodworth went to shoot the double bonus, making the first one but missing the second. Kassongo got the rebound for Barton, which had to come right upcourt as it had no time outs remaining.
Jara Shoemaker ended up with the ball just outside the three-point arc as the clock wound down. However, she passed up the shot and gave the ball to Rotollo, who didn't have enough time to get the ball into position to shoot before the final horn sounded.
"Honestly, it was just heart," Couch said. "That's all I can really say. It came down to heart."
Though not likely foremost on their minds during the game, the game might also send out word to the coaches that voted the Greyhounds to finish last in the Jayhawk Conference-Eastern Division that they're not to be taken so lightly after all. Barton is the defending Western Division champion. But while Fort Scott has six returning sophomores, the Cougars have only one, Kassongo, and were still picked to finish sixth in the Western Division.
"I'm amazed with my team tonight," Couch said. "I know they wanted to get this win against Barton County. That 10th-place prediction is going to hound them every game. And they felt if they could beat the team picked sixth in the West, that would be helpful."
Kelly connected on 13 of 24 field-goal attempts for the 'Hounds and finished with 28 points, 6 rebounds and 6 steals. She made that clutch shot in the final minute with a bandage around her head as she got knocked pretty hard about two minutes earlier.
Hampton followed with 12 points while also dishing out 7 assists for Fort Scott.
"I thought we executed the offense well," Couch said. "They looked for things. And then (Barton) came out and pressured us a little bit, kind of like they did in the pre-season jamboree. It kind of messed with us."
Kelly scored the Greyhounds' first 9 points, the first basket a three-point shot from the right wins as Fort Scott overcame that early 4-0 deficit to find itself in front 13-5 with 12 1/2 minutes remaining in the half.
The lead grew to 12 three times, the last at 27-15 on a Hampton layup with 4:57 left in the half.
Foul issues began to come into play -- a side effect of having just 9 players -- as Kasey Teich drew her fourth foul late in the half. That may have been a factor as Barton began to chip into the lead with around 4 minutes to go.
Six points in the final 45 seconds -- two Kassongo layups and a pair of Shoemaker free throws -- brought Barton County within 31-26 at the half.
"Since the beginning, I've told them it's got to be a trust thing between me and them," Couch said of the foul situation. "With nine, we're going to be in foul trouble. But I think our bench is deep. We might be nine deep as far as everybody helping the team. We don't have anybody who really hurts us when they're on the floor. Knowing that if Brittany Demery gets in trouble early in the half, I've got Joy and I've got Tashanda (Jackson), I've got Chioma (Okoronkwo), I've got Kendra (Mattox). It's them trusting and knowing that someone will get in trouble and we've to pick them up."
Barton County also had just nine players and both teams had used all of them by the time the 6-minute mark passed in the first half.
Fort Scott scored the first 5 points of the second half with Sherokee Bloodworth's jumper making it 36-26 with 18:24 left.
Barton got within 45-40 when Rotollo scored off a steal with 11:50 remaining. But Kelly sparked the 'Hounds to a 9-0 run that made it 54-40.
Fort Scott made 13 of 26 shots from the field in the second half and went 25 of 56 overall for 45 percent. Barton County finished at 35 percent on 21 of 60. The Cougars made just 3 of 16 shots from 3-point range.
"Defensively, I told our kids, 'Until they hit (a three), don't worry about coming out on them,'" Couch said. "But I think that may have messed us up a little bit because my guards were so worried about them hitting the 3, they kept cheating over to them and them we put them on the (free-throw) line a lot."
Barton County went to the free-throw line 25 times but made on 14 shots (56 percent). Fort Scott was 9 of 15 at the charity stripe.
Alisha Fanisher scored 16 points to lead Barton County. Kassongo followed with 14, Rotollo 13 and Ward with 11.
Rotollo and Kassongo each had 10 rebounds as Barton County held a 42-38 rebounding advantage. Jackson led the 'Hounds with 9 boards.
Both teams had 11 assists. Barton County picked up 14 steals to Fort Scott's 11.
The Greyhounds will travel to Nevada to take on Cottey College at 7 p.m. tonight. They will also face the Comets at 2 p.m. Friday as they take part in the Allen County Classic at Iola. The 'Hounds will play Northern Oklahoma-Enid at 2 p.m. Saturday in Iola.
FSCC won't be home again until they take on Neosho County in a Jayhawk Conference-Eastern Division game at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2. . That is one of two December conference games this season as a result of a decision to move the Jayhawk Conference Shootout to the second weekend of January.
BARTON COUNTY: Sanchez 0-0 0-0 0, Ward 5-14 1-2 11, Rotollo 4-9 3-5 13, Bowens 1-7 0-2 3, Shoemaker 0-3 2-2 2, Fanisher 4-9 6-6 16, Kassongo 7-11 0-3 14, McDowell 0-3 0-0 0, McKenzie 0-4 0-2 0. TOTALS: 21-60 14-25 59.
FORT SCOTT: Bloodworth 1-5 1-2 3, Teich 2-7 1-2 5, Hampton 3-8 5-6 12, Mattox 1-1 1-3 3, Demery 2-5 1-2 5, Kelly 13-24 0-0 28, Hathaway 2-4 0-0 4, Okoronkwo 0-1 0-0 0, Jackson 1-1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 25-56 9-15 62.
Halftime: Fort Scott, 31-26.
Three-point field goals: Barton County 3-16 (Fanisher 2-4, Bowens 1-5, Shoemaker 0-2, McDowell 0-2, Rotollo 0-3), Fort Scott 3-11 (Kelly 2-5, Hampton 1-3, Demery 0-1, Teich 0-2).
Total fouls: Barton County 20, Fort Scott 24. Fouled out: Ward, Demery. Technical fouls: none.
Rebounds: Barton County 42 (Rotollo 10, Kassongo 10), Fort Scott 38 (Jackson 9). Assists: Barton County 11 (Rotollo 3), Fort Scott 11 (Hampton 7). Turnovers: Barton County 26, Fort Scott 29. Steals: Barton County 14 (Rotollo 4, Kassongo 4), Fort Scott 11 (Kelly 6). Blocked shots: Barton County 2 (Kassongo 2), Fort Scott 3 (Hathaway 2).