By Mark Johnson
KCC 49 – H-N 35
The Bearcats were set to play two games in the Hillsboro-Central Valley Holiday Hoops Event, but Mother Nature had something to say about it. The first game of the event for the Bearcats was supposed to be played against Larimore on Dec 27, but due to the winter storm that rolled through the region the first day of games was canceled. Day two of the event brought calmer weather and the opportunity for KCC to get back on the hardwood in a game against the Hatton-Northwood Thunder.
It had been over a week since KCC had last played an opponent, and early on the energy and grit just wasn’t present for the Bearcats. As the first half of play progressed, however, the KCC squad started to get after some loose balls and went to work with a more aggressive style of play. The Bearcats’ full court pressure and increased intensity on the defensive end of the floor started to pay dividends. KCC steadily built a lead and pulled out to a 26-17 halftime advantage.
The Bearcats kept the same recipe for the second half of play and found success as play resumed. KCC capitalized on their opponent’s turnovers and kept looking for opportunities to attack the Thunder on both ends of the floor. It was the first time this year that the Bearcats were able to win the battle of the offensive glass. The Bearcats scored 19 points on second chance opportunities. In addition, they were also able to convert turnovers into 20 points. KCC rode the aggressive style of play to the 49-35 win and moved their season record to 6-3. Next action for the Bearcats will be just after the New Year when school returns to session.
We didn’t have a lot of energy early in the game, but were able to create some with our full court pressure and just a more concentrated effort to get on the floor and win the battle for loose balls. It was good for us to get back on the floor after more than a week off during the holiday season.
Cora Kujava 14, Allie Cassels and Andi Strege 8 each, Josie Steen 5, Marlee Turn and Morgan Olson 4, McKenna Peterson 3, Gracie Whitlock 2, Mariah Olson 1
Rebound leaders: Whitlock 8, Kujava 6, Cassels 4
Assist leaders: Olson 3, Kujava 3
KCC 60 – CF 49
KCC started off 2019 with a road win over the Climax/Fisher Knights.
Last Thursday, the Bearcats traveled to Fisher to face the Knights in a sub section matchup.
KCC needed a win to stay in the top tier of teams in the west sub section.
It started out poorly for the Bearcats. The Knights jumped out to a 9-2 lead and KCC staring at an early deficit.
It didn’t take very long for the Bearcats to get back in the game. The closed the gap with a few turnovers and converted those turnovers into points.
Once KCC got the lead, it looked like they may be able to build a comfortable lead over their opponent, but the Knights kept fighting and kept finding their way to the free throw line to keep the game close.
The first half ended with the KCC holding a slim 32-28 advantage.
The Bearcats did take control of the game in the second half of play and twice built leads of 14 points.
The first time they pushed their lead to that margin, the Knights managed to fight their way back and get to within a single basket of the Bearcats.
KCC responded in kind and rebuilt their lead to capture the 60-49 lead and keep pace with the sub section leaders.
We started out slow in the contest, and it took us a while to settle in and play with some control. Defensively, we just weren’t moving well enough.
We put them on the free throw line 36 times during the game, and kept giving them opportunities to hang around.
When we were able to play defense without fouling is when we built our leads, but whenever we got sloppy on defense they would close the gap on the foul line.
We played much better in the second half and were more focused on both ends of the floor.
Andi Strege 22, Cora Kujava 17, Morgan Olson 8, Allie Cassels 6, Shelby Pankratz 4, McKenna Peterson 2, Marlee Turn 1
Rebound leaders: Cassels 8, Strege, Kujava and Shelby Pankratz 5
Assist leaders: Strege 5, Kujuva, Pankratz and Turn 3