LADY DRAGONS RALLY LATE, NEED OT TO GROUND JETS IN NJCAA 2ND ROUND
SALINA - Trailing by any deficit in the final two minutes has been a foreign concept this season for the 2014 Jayhawk West and Region VI champion Hutchinson Community College women's basketball team.
So when the No. 3-ranked Lady Dragons trailed by five points with 2:08 remaining in the second half of Wednesday's 2014 NJCAA Women's Division I National Basketball Tournament second-round match-up with 19th seed with Northern Oklahoma College-Enid, the Lady Dragons didn't panic.
Instead, Hutchinson scored the final five points of regulation and the first 12 points of overtime to advance to the national quarterfinals defeating the Jets 77-68 in overtime at the Bicentennial Center.
Hutchinson (33-0) won its 34th consecutive game and will face high-scoring Tyler Junior College in the fourth quarterfinal at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Tyler, the 11th overall seed and zone qualifier, hammered No. 6 seed College of Southern Idaho 102-81 on Wednesday.
"We made some big plays, but you have to give Enid a lot of credit," said HCC head coach John Ontjes, whose overtime record with the Lady Dragons improved to 2-4. "Their kids never gave up and made big shot after big shot in the second half. Our kids responded and never got frustrated or panicked. They made enough plays to get us to overtime and then with Jamie (Patrick) making some threes, that got us some separation."
Hutchinson led 36-24 with 18:02 remaining in the game and looked to be in control. But NOC-Enid came back with one of the most impressive 3-point shooting displays ever against the Lady Dragons.
Usually casting away from an average of 2 to 4 feet from behind the 3-point arc, the Jets started connecting from distance at a dizzying rate. They hit five 3-pointers during a 16-2 Enid run that erased HCC's double-figure lead in a matter of 4 minutes, 54 seconds. NOC-Enid drilled 8 of 13 3-point attempts in the second half and had an opponent-high 11 treys for the game.
Breck Clark had five 3-pointers, while Rylie Swanson and Kroi Barrios had three each. Clark's final 3-pointer with 2:08 to play in the second have gave the Jets a 63-58 lead and marked the latest that HCC has trailed in a game this season.
"You anticipate the other team's going to make some baskets, but the shots they were making were just incredible," Ontjes said.
Needing an answer to extend this season, sophomore Jamie Patrick and freshman Kalani Purcell provided just what the Lady Dragons were looking for.
Patrick buried a 3-pointer with 1:32 remaining in regulation to pull Hutch within 63-60. Purcell then came up with a backcourt steal on HCC's full-court pressure and scored a few seconds later to tie the game at 63-63 with 1:12 to go.
"I just was thinking make this and get us back into it and that's when Kalani got her steal and got us to tie it," Patrick said of the sequence to tie the game at the end of regulation. "We made two big plays back to back."
Patrick started OT off with a pair of 3-pointers and then Purcell scored after grabbing an offensive rebound to give HCC a 71-63 lead with 3:14 to play in overtime. From the 2:08 mark of regulation, the Lady Dragons scored 16 unanswered points over a stretch of 6 minutes, 8 seconds to lead 75-63 with 1 minute to play in regulation. Hutchinson outscored NOC-Enid 14-5 in overtime, holding the Jets to 1 of 4 shooting with four turnovers in the extra session.
"We had to keep pressuring them and stay up on them," said Purcell of the late second-half rally. "Their shots stopped falling and we were able to get some rebounds and go down and score."
Patrick scored seven of her team-high 20 points in overtime. She knocked down 5 of 8 from 3-point range, including three huge treys down the stretch. In the process, Patrick moved past Cian Carvalho into second place on HCC's career scoring list with 1,050 points and past Janay Vulgamore into third on the single-season scoring list with 578 points.
Both Purcell and sophomore Jen'Von'Ta Hill had double-doubles to lead HCC on Wednesday.
Purcell posted her 15th double-double with 23 points and 17 rebounds. Purcell was 11 of 17 from the field. She added three assists, two steals and a block. This was Purcell's 18th double-figure rebounding game.
Hill posted her second career double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds with four assists, a career-high three blocked shots and two steals. Hill moved up to fourth place on the career assist list with 311.
The Lady Dragons shot 31 of 74 overall (41.9 percent), including 5 of 21 from 3-point range and 10 of 18 from the foul line. HCC out-rebounded Enid 49-35, allowing a season-low four offensive rebounds. The Lady Dragons had 21 assists and just 12 turnovers.
Swanson had a double-double to lead NOC-Enid (21-12) with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Clark also had 22 points and Barrios had 10 for the Jets, who shot 34.5 percent overall, 11 of 22 from long range and 19 of 24 from the free-throw line. The Jets had 14 turnovers.
"They were great shooters and they were hitting hit," Patrick said. "When you play great shooters, you have to get a hand up and do all you can you can to stop them.
A 3-pointer by Clark and a Sadie Perry basket gave NOC-Enid a 15-14 lead with 12:16 remaining in the opening half. HCC's defense then held Enid scoreless for 7 minutes, 32 seconds and built a 24-15 lead with 5:44 to play. Shooting 44.4 percent and holding Enid to 25 percent shooting in the first half, HCC led 34-22 at halftime.
GAME NOTES - HCC is now 11-6 overall in NJCAA Tournament games, going 1-1 in overtime. … Kalani Purcell's 17 rebounds were the second most in her career. … Jamie Patrick posted her 12th 20-point scoring game of the season. … The 41 points scored by NOC-Enid in the second half were the most allowed in a half this season by HCC.
Head Coach John Ontjes
On Kalani Purcell's steal in the last minutes of regulation …
"It was a big play. We had to extend our defense at that point to try and get some turnovers and she got a tip and Kalani finished with a lauyup. Our kids hung in there and showed some toughness when we were down five."
On Jamie Patrick's ability to hit clutch shots. …
"That's something that you are born with, the ability to step up and make plays when your team needs you to. When we got to overtime, I told the kids that they have 5 minutes to go and we needed every one of our kids to step up and make plays for us to advance."
Freshman Kalani Purcell
On Jamie Patrick's ability to hit clutch shots …
"Jamie a very consistent shooter. When it comes to crunch time, we knows we they are going to be close."
On getting an opening-round bye …
"We were pretty happy about it. There are advantages and disadvantages. We just go out and play hard and adjust as we go and not let that stuff phase us."
On her own performance …
"I was just trying to play as best as I could and help my team."
Sophomore Jamie Patrick
On Kalani Purcell's steal in the last minutes of regulation …
"We just had to stay calm, go down have a good offensive play and then go get a defensive stop. It was a huge play for us. We stayed really calm and coach Ontjes told us to keep our composure."