Demons come up short in Junction City
By: John Zetmeir
A first half offensive lull was ultimately too much to overcome for the Dodge City High School girls basketball team in their season opener at Junction City on Friday.
The Red Demons fought back from a 15-point deficit but could not secure a victory in their 46-43 loss to the Bluejays.
Midway through the first quarter, the two teams were deadlocked at 7-7 before Junction City used an 11-0 run to pull ahead. The Bluejays reached their largest lead of the night near the end of the first half when they held a 30-15 advantage.
The Red Demons outscored Junction City 15-5 in the third quarter to get themselves back in the game.
“They showed a lot about their character,” Dodge City head coach Kelley Snodgrass said during a postgame radio interview. “We could’ve packed it in at halftime and came out and lost by about 30 but it shows that they came back.”
With 2:08 left in the game, Ashley Nelson cut Junction City’s lead to 42-40. Freshman Chidera Okoro made a free throw to bring the Red Demons to within one point in the final minute but that was as close as Dodge City would get.
Nelson led the team with 18 points and nine rebounds.
“(Nelson) kind of put us on her back and she tried to take over,” Snodgrass said. “That’s what we need her to do. She was tough on the boards, she was outsized but she grabbed those rebounds.”
Junction City won the rebounding battle 39 to 29 on Friday night. The Bluejays also grabbed 17 offensive rebounds.
“That’s a big thing of concern, we always out rebound,” Snodgrass said. “That’s what we hang our hat on. Our goal is always 10 or less offensive rebounds and they had 17 and they executed on a lot of those.”
Junction City 48, Dodge City Boys 32.
The Dodge City boys basketball team kept themselves in the game for most of the evening but a strong third quarter helped Junction City push the game out of reach.
After trailing by four points at the halftime break, the Bluejays used a 7-3 run to build a 10 point lead. Dodge City trailed by eight points going into the fourth quarter.
The Red Demons made just 4-of-20 shots from the field in the second half.
“It’s going to be a work in progress,” Dodge City head coach Dennis Hamilton said. “Shooting 26 percent as a group and still being in the game early in the fourth quarter is kind of remarkable. It says a lot about the toughness and the grittiness of our kids.”
Senior Chris Baker led the team with 11 points which included 3-of-6 makes from 3-point range. Sophomore Noah Sowers was just behind Baker with 10 points and added a team-high nine rebounds.
Both teams will travel to Liberal next Friday.