HESSTON, KS – Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, KS) defeated the Hesston College women’s basketball team 89-31 Saturday afternoon, a final score that doesn’t do justice to the way the Larks played. Playing against the top-ranked team in NJCAA Div. II, the Larks shot just 21 percent from the floor. To their credit, they created open shots against defenders with significant size and speed advantages, but the basket was unkind shot after shot. Despite the Cavaliers scoring 89 points, coach Dan Harrison thought his players continued to fight defensively despite the ball not going in the hoop.
“Even if the basketball’s not going in the hole you can always play defense,” Harrison said. “We rebounded well and even when we got hammered we knew we had to fight.”
That hammer was the Johnson County Cavaliers. JCCC shot an impressive 55 percent from the floor collecting 34 more rebounds (58-24) and hitting 22 more shots (34-12) than Hesston. Four different Cavaliers entered double figures in scoring while the Larks had none. The final score betrays the reality of how close the game was played, but tells an honest tale about just how good this undefeated squad truly is.
Hesston was led in scoring by sophomore Nikki Lowry (Colorado Springs, CO) and freshman J’liyah Tillman (Muskogee, OK) who both contributed six points off the bench. Sophmore Nikkita Lester (Colorado Springs, CO) had a balanced statline with four points, four assists, and five rebounds, the latter stats leading the team.
As for the game itself, there was never much doubt as to the final result. While the Larks seemed to be playing well in terms of creating shots and playing pressure defense, Johnson County hit their shots early while Hesston didn’t. After six minutes the Cavaliers led 13-2 and four minutes later it was 22-4. Hesston’s offense started to click a little after that point but Johnson continued to step on the gas on their way to a 49-19 halftime lead.
The second half was no different. The crowd at Yost Center saw Johnson’s lead only extend as the game wore on until the game finally ended with the Cavaliers winning by 58. The loss stings in any context, but coach Harrison knows what he wants his players to take away from a loss to a team like this.
“You’ve gotta challenge those girls that want to play on the next level,” Harrison remarked. “What do you have to do to compete at the level of those girls on the floor? What do you have to do about your game? Hopefully this game was a lesson.”
The Larks’ (10-10) next home game is against Fort Scott CC this Wednesday, Jan. 29.