Demons End Regular Season With Tough Losses in Liberal
Liberal, KS (westernkansasnews.com) It was not an easy ending to the regular season for the Dodge City High School Basketball teams, but the Demons held their on against the WAC champs only to fall 44-41 in the girls game and 50-46 in the boys game Thursday night.
Girls Highlights First Half/Second Half
The Dodge girls jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and were up 12-7 at the end of the first quarter. Tia Bradshaw and Ezinne Okoro scored six each and were the only two players to score for the Demons in the first quarter.
Liberal (16-4, 7-1) in the second quarter picked up the offense hitting five of their nine shots and took a one point lead to the lockerroom at half. Although Dodge City (6-14, 2-6) had the momentum at the end of the half with Okoro’s banked shot from the free throw line.
Liberal began to get a little spacing opening up a six point lead at the end of the third quarter. Dodge’s defense held in there and keyed a late comeback when both Chidera Okoro and Tia Bradshaw came up with steals and back to back layups in closing to within 42-41 with 1:43 left.
Both teams struggled at the end and Liberal could not ice it from the line enabling Dodge City to tie up the game with 10.3 seconds left, but Bradshaw became stuck inside the arc and her shot was blocked away at the right elbow by Jada Mickens. Even if Bradshaw had made the shot, Dodge City would have fallen one point short.
Post-game Comment DCHS Coach Kelley Snodgrass
For the game both teams shot close to 40 percent. Liberal dominated from the free throw line hitting 17/29 while Dodge City went just 2/8. Bradshaw scored 13 in the loss, while Ezinne Okoro poured in 12.
Liberal was led by Jada Mickens who scored 13 points and 5 rebounds. Senior Katie Horyna dished out four assists.
Boys Highlights First Half/Second Half
It was the night of the comeback for the Dodge City boys, but in the end they lost their 12th in the last 13 contests. The Demons were down 12-1 in the first quarter and 40-27 with three minutes left in the third only to even the game at 44 with less than a minute left on a pair of free throws from Noah Sowers.
Then potential WAC player of the year Cade Hinkle took over going coast to coast for a layup with 44 seconds left. He also added two free throws on the following possession as Liberal (18-2, 7-1 WAC) secured their second straight WAC title in handing the Demons another tough loss (3-17, 2-6).
Kaden Rickenberg lit it up connecting on 3 of 5 in his three point attempts scoring nine of his dozen points before half. Noah Sowers displayed the type of leadership head coach Dennis Hamilton expects over the next two years scoring 16 on 5 of 8 shooting.
Hinkle was the only player in double figures for the Redskins scoring 12 points. Deladris Green added 8 points and 7 rebounds. Liberal kept possessions alive outrebounding Dodge 29-17 and finishing with 12 offensive boards to the Demons five.
DCHS Coach Dennis Hamilton’s Post-game Comments
The Demon boys will begin substate Wednesday night as the seventh seed and will play at (10-10) Wichita North a team that beat Dodge City in the opening round of Tournament of Champions 59-48. In the loss Hunter Heath scored a double-double for the Demons finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
The Dodge girls play Thursday night their first round substate game when they play at 8-12 Wichita North. The Demon girls are the fifth seed in a 4-5 matchup with the winner likely to get top seeded and two time defending state champion Wichita South in the substate final on Saturday.