There is a silver lining when a team goes down to the most potent scorer and rebounder in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.
It’s the determination that there was once a point in the women’s college basketball contest when Neosho County Community College had a fighting chance to come from behind. But a methodical surge by the Independence Community College Lady Pirates would prove to be too much to overcome, as ICC (13-9, 10-5) ultimately won 85-65 over the Lady Panthers Wednesday night at Panther Gymnasium.
While NCCC sophomore guard and the KJCCC second-leading scorer and rebounder Chrissy Brown scored 18 and brought down nine boards, and sophomore guard Jessica Jones registered 18 points, the best and most dominate scorer and rebounder in the KJCCC happens to play for Indy. Sophomore center Brittany Reeves put up a game-high 25 points, 19 rebounds and two blocks. Indy’s freshman guard Deairah Mays tallied 18 points.
It was a steep hill for NCCC to climb early on after a 42-21 halftime lead for the Lady Pirates thanks to Reeves’ 10 points and 11 boards and Mays’ 15 points and four assists at the break.
NCCC’s 10 turnovers and shooting 23 percent from the field by halftime also stood out. But three games in the last week with Brown and Jones averaging 35 minutes a night, combined with the pacing of the offense not up to speed in the first half, led to head coach JJ Davis sitting those two guards at the end of the first half.
Davis said he recognized the kind of talent Indy has very early, as Reeves is just too big and skilled down low.
“They got some really good post players. I didn’t recognize our kids today, not a bad thing,” Davis said after the game. “It’s been a long year. Some nights we’re going to have bad nights. And tonight we shot six for 33 (18.2 percent) from the 3. We normally don’t shoot that bad. We shot 30 3s and only made six of them. We made a valiant effort. We just couldn’t get it back. We just got to get better every day. Hopefully we get better.
“As far as effort-wise, our kids played with effort. They play with enthusiasm. One positive, we got a lot of kids some playing time that hadn’t gotten some in the past. It’s always an evaluation. You’re evaluating your freshmen when situations like this happen and we just weren’t big enough to withstand.”
Still, NCCC found a way to claw back using their press defense. From defense to offense, Jones hit back-to-back 3s to make the score 54-42 with 3:30 left in the third. On the very next possession, Reeves – an All-Conference player with a 6’5” frame – muscled up a point-blank layup to answer.
A few minutes later, Brown, who played even though she was a bit under the weather, found a way to be aggressive to the rim before knocking down two free throws.
Reeves, once more, responded with an and-one basket. After the made free throw, the Lady Pirates were up by 20 late in the game.
Indy shot 46 percent from the field and made nine 3s in comparison to 27 percent for NCCC and six made 3s. The Lady Pirates brought down 50 rebounds, while the Lady Panthers had 31. Nineteen rebounds were the difference and Reeves ripped off exactly that amount in her total en route to her team’s sixth win in a row over NCCC.
NCCC (10-13, 4-11) will gear up for Cowley College (16-9, 6-9) in Arkansas City beginning at 5:30 pm on Saturday.