Panthers’ winning streak ends

JOHN GIFFIN

Sports editor

COFFEYVILLE – Unable to get a rhythm established in an inconsistently officiated contest, Neosho County Community College (13-10) fell 76-65 to National Junior College Athletic Association Div. 1 No. 21 Coffeyville Community College (3-2 Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference East, 19-4 overall) at Nellis Hall in Coffeyville Wednesday night.

After falling behind in the second half, Panther sophomore Brett Frantz narrowed the Coffeyville lead to 55-53 with a three with 6:26 to play.

After that, the Panthers went cold and Coffeyville ended the game on a 21-12 run.

“That goes to how they were guarding,” Panther Head Coach Jeremy Coombs said. “They were switching everything and that made us think a little bit and kind of question if we wanted to take a shot and this, that or whatever. That kind of puts a doubt in your mind that you’re not going to able to knock that down.”

In the last half of the first half, Neosho battled back by getting out in transition. Sophomore Freddie McSwain threw down a rim rattling, alley oop dunk. Sophomore Joseph Acul finished a monster jam with multiple Red Ravens under the basket. The run ended before the half. Coffeyville took a 38-32 lead into the break.

“We went on that big run and typically what we’ve done throughout the season is we go on that run and we just keep going, nobody stops us,” Coombs said. “But again we faced some adversity where we hit a big three and kind of kept them back in the game and we kind of melted. It goes back to our toughness tonight. I didn’t see it.”

The first few minutes of the game were extremely physical, with the officials calling very little. It was several minutes into the first half before any points were scored. The score hovered at 2-2 for a while before both teams began to get the ball in the hoop. Coffeyville took its biggest lead of the first half at 21-14 at the 7:20 point.

The officiating styles seemed to change throughout the contest with little being called for the first part of the game and no physical action being allowed in the early part of the second half. It was hard to discern what the officials would interpret as a foul at any point throughout the game. Coombs said the inconsistent officiating was not an excuse.

“We have to be more disciplined and we have to be more physical,” Coombs said. “We just didn’t. It’s some adversity we hadn’t faced this year.”

Acuil recorded another double double with 21 points and 16 rebounds. BJ Jenkins scored 15 points and dished out six assists, but struggled from the field hitting 3-of-13 from the field  and 1-of-5 from three. Jenkins was perfect from the line shooting 8-of-8. Brett Frantz scored 12 points hitting 3-of-8 from three. 

As a team, the Panthers shot 38.5 percent from the field. In the second half, the Panthers shot 16.7 percent from three.

Coffeyville had three players in double figures with Delano Spencer leading the Red Ravens with 18 points. Darrion Strong scored 17 points. Maurice Kirby scored 14 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and dished out four assists. 

Neosho returns home for the “Suits and Sneakers” game against Highland Community College (3-3, 10-12). Donations collected will benefit Neosho County Relay for Life.

Box score:

Coffeyville  38 38 - 76

Neosho      32 33 - 65

Coffeyville: Darrion Strong 17, Delano Spencer 18, Maurice Kirby 14, Lionel Ellison 6, Jovan Barksdale 2, Kellieon Williams 2, LaVone Holland 5, Steffon Kyles 6, Malcolm Davis 6.

Neosho: Joseph Acuil 21, BJ Jenkins 15, Brett Frantz 12, Deshawn Terrell 10, Greg Wimberly 5, Freddie McSwain 2.

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