The Barton Community College women's basketball team advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Region VI playoffs with a 114-102 first round victory Wednesday night over Neosho County Community College.
Nearly a year from a disappointing overtime loss at Coffeyville in first round action to end the 2018 campaign, the Barton sophomores were back in the gym the next day with the goal of continuing playoff action at Hartman Arena. Now 22-9 on the year for the most victories since the 2008-09 season, they'll continue the mission in Park City on Saturday as the 5th seeded Cougars will next play at 3:00 p.m. against 4th seeded Cowley College. The Tigers, who defeated Barton 90-73 back on December 1 in Arkansas City, survived at home Wednesday night 70-67 to advance. The winner of the Barton-Cowley contest will then advance to Monday's 3:00 p.m. semifinal against the victor of the top seeded Seward County versus 8th seeded Cloud County matchup. Neosho County concludes the season at 9-22.
Closing out the home slate of games at the Barton Gym, the Cougars either set or entered the program record in multiple individual and team categories.
In matching its highest point total of the season, the Cougars reset the program mark in free throws made and attempted going 42-of-50 for an incredible 84.0%. Contributing a big chunk of the high percentage was Mallory Miller in perfect twelve charity tosses in matching fellow sophomore Taylor Regan's program record set in February of last season. Miller went to the line three times during the contest with a trio of tosses in being fouled on three-point launches while sinking another toss after been fouled on a made three point attempt to give Barton a thirteen point lead with 4:02 remaining.
Point guard Jaylin Stapleton's seventeen made free throws reset the program top mark but flirted with a number of other single game achievements with a second best nineteen charity attempts in going on to tally forty points to fall two shy of Wendy Okeson's forty-two set in the 2000 season.
Stapleton piled up fourteen points behind a pair of treys in the first quarter leading a four point Barton edge with Miller doing the bulk of the damage in the second period knocking down three triples to help the Cougars widen the margin by ten for a 59-45 lead to halftime.
The Cougars cooled off in second half play from their opening twenty minutes of 57% shooting with Neosho County improving sixteen percentage points in the final two frames to climb back into the game in the fourth period.
An 8-0 Panther run to begin the fourth cut the margin into single digits for the first time since early in the second period as two of Neosho's twelve made three-pointers sliced the margin to five with 7:30 to play.
Taylor Nichols answered for the Cougars on the other end to halt the run with Regan's jumper and a pair of Stapleton's free throws pushed the lead back out to eleven within the next two minutes.
Neosho County would get it back to single digits a couple of more times with the last coming prior to Miller's old fashioned four-point play with four minutes left as Stapleton would help seal the deal sinking of seven of eight from the stripe in the final sixty seconds remaining.
Stapleton also dished out a game high five assists to go along with her 10-of-16 shooting on the big night. Also putting up a chunk of points, Miller's 5-of-8 from behind the arc, in addition to, her perfect night at the stripe piled up thirty-one points after scoring thirty-three against the Panthers in Chanute back in their December meeting to finish three points behind a new career high. Double-double machine Regan added sixteen points and fourteen rebounds for her twelfth such accomplishment of the season.
Adding to the night of achievements, Ryen White recorded her first double-double performance to close out the sophomore's last game on Fleske Court, scoring thirteen points and hauling down ten rebounds with an all-around game of three steals and four assists.
The Cougars swatted away twelve shots on the night led by sophomore Irene Chukwudi as the Region VI leader rejected five while grabbing eight rebounds helping Barton to an eight board advantage on the glass.
Kelcey Hinz paced five Panthers in double digits with a double-double twenty-six points and ten rebounds to go along with four blocked shots. Chrissy Brown buried five of Neosho's twelve treys for a nineteen point night with Destiny Stewart and Jessica Jones each knocking down a trio in recording seventeen and fifteen point efforts respectively. Calea Augustin rounded out the two-box scorers with ten points.
Additional information regarding the Region VI Tournament can be found at www.kjccc.org.