HESSTON, KS – Hesston’s 89-73 overtime loss to Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, KS) saw the Larks lead at the half, trail by 11 in the second half, force overtime, lose by 16, and still be an evenly matched game throughout.
It was a strange contest to say the least.
Freshman Darrion Martin (Houston) led the Larks with 28 points, 24 of which came in the second half. He was complimented by sophomore Mason Davis (Mustang, OK) who poured 17 points of his own mostly on 3-point shooting.
The stat stuffer of the game was Johnson’s Pat Jones. The sophomore from Leawood , KS scorched the Larks with 41 points on 10-25 shooting, 8-19 from beyond the 3-point line. The game’s leading scorer played all 45 minutes of the game while astonishingly avoiding a single foul against him. Johnson was forced to use the guard so long because their entire roster consisted of seven players, one of whom fouled out in the game.
The first half of action saw neither team pull away from the other. Hesston’s largest lead of the half, and also the game, was six points while JCCC never led by more than four in the first 20 minutes. While Hesston was having more success in the paint, Johnson was on fire from 3-point range. The half ended with a 36-34 Hesston advantage, but no clearly superior team established.
Johnson County vied to take that label with a strong start to the second half. The Cavaliers 3-point barrage continued, but the Larks’ offense slowed down. Johnson had built a 54-43 lead with 13 minutes to play and looked like they might pull away.
But it was then that Martin’s big night truly began as his sudden offensive burst helped the Larks slowly gnaw away at Johnson’s lead until Hesston took it back at 65-64 with 4:30 to play. The teams played fairly even from there culminating in a 71-71 tied at the end of regulation.
Overtime turned out to be a nightmare for the Larks. The Cavaliers scored the first 16 points of overtime and finished with an 18-2 advantage. It can’t be denied that JCCC simply played better at the end, but Hesston head coach Dustin Galyon was rightfully upset at an oddity in the final period; the Cavaliers were never whistled for a foul in those five minutes of play. JCCC entered the overtime period with three players each a foul away from disqualification but despite making contact with numerous Hesston players were never given a foul.
“I was very discouraged by the way our players who were attacking were getting draped going downhill,” Galyon sighed. “That’s the most discouraging game I’ve ever coached in that sense. Give credit to Johnson County for playing well in overtime, but we didn’t get a lot of the fouls we usually get.”
Hesston’s next home game is against Fort Scott CC on Jan. 29.