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Hutch men reach Region VI men’s final for first time since ’97

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, March 8, 2013, at 11:17 p.m.

— The statements came early and often from Hutchinson in Friday’s 85-62 win over No. 2 Coffeyville in the Region VI men’s basketball semifinals.

There was 6-foot-9 sophomore Alex Davis, catching the ball at the three-point line and flying toward the rim for a dunk and a 16-5 lead just five minutes into the game.

Next, fellow sophomore forward Taffari Whittingham serving the Red Ravens with back-to-back dunks, the second one finishing off a fast break with an alley-oop from D’Von Campbell.

Then Whittingham, again, finishing at the rim, this time with a defender’s hand on the ball when he went up to dunk.

Davis, again, grabbing a rebound and slamming it home.

"(Coach Steve Eck) told us that Coffeyville hadn’t played a team from the (Jayhawk) West like us," said Davis, who finished with a team-high 16 points and is signed with Fresno State. "(Coffeyville) thought we were overrated. We belong here."

Hutchinson, ranked No. 9 in NJCAA Division I, led 39-30 at halftime over Coffeyville (31-2) and kept pouring it on in the second half, leading by as many as 30 points with 4:36 left.

"We haven’t been very good in the first half this year," Campbell said. "We know we’re capable of making big runs in both halves."

Earl Peterson led Coffeyville with 20 points. The Red Ravens must wait and hope they’re awarded an at-large bid to the NJCAA Division I Tournament when brackets are released on Monday.

"I think we should be in, I think our record speaks for itself," Coffeyville coach Jay Herkelman said. "Hutchinson was on fire tonight. They couldn’t miss."

Rozell Nunn added 14 points for Hutchinson. Campbell finished with 12 points and three steals while fellow guards Kadeem Allen (11 points, 9 assists) and Jack Pyle (10 points) were also in double figures. The Blue Dragons shot 62.5 percent (35 of 56).

It’s Hutchinson’s first trip to the Region VI final since 1997, when current Hutchinson athletic director Randy Stange was the coach and the Blue Dragons defeated Eck and Butler Community College.

Eck is 0-3 in Region VI title games, with two more losses as Cowley’s coach in 2008 and 2009.

"It’s not about me, OK? It’s about Hutch, it’s about my team," Eck said. "It’s all about Hutch."

COFFEYVILLE (31-2): Craig 1-10 3-3 5, Stephens 1-1 2-4 4, Alexander 2-5 0-0 4, Martin 0-1 0-0 0, Wilson 0-1 1-2 1, Britt 2-8 2-5 8, Peterson 6-13 4-4 20, Crawford 0-3 2-2 2, Wilson 1-2 0-0 2, Hicks 0-0 0-0 0, James 7-14 2-6 6, Huskey 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-59 16-26 62.

HUTCHINSON (30-3): Campbell 5-11 1-1 12, Grice 0-2 0-0 0, Davis 7-8 2-2 16, Watson 0-1 2-4 2, Pyle 4-4 2-2 10, Allen 5-9 1-1 11, Spencer 4-7 0-0 9, Whittingham 4-4 0-3, Jackson 1-1 1-2 3, Henley 0-0 0-0 0, Hunt 0-1 0-0 0, Nunn 5-8 3-3 14. Totals 35-56 10-16 85.

Halftime — Hutchinson 39, Coffeyville 30. Three-point shooting — Coffeyville 6-17 (Peterson 4-8, Britt 2-7, Crawford 0-1, Alexander 0-1). Hutchinson 5-12 (Pyle 2-2, Campbell 1-3, Spencer 1-2, Nunn 1-2, Grice 0-1, Watson 0-1, Hunt 0-1). Rebounds — Coffeyville 33 (James 9). Hutchinson 36 (Spencer 6). Assists — Coffeyville 11 (Craig 5). Hutchinson 24 (Allen 9).

No. 24 Barton 70, Seward County 64 — All-Jayhawk West guard Algie Key scored 22 points to lead Barton to a win over the defending Region VI champions. Wichita native Kaheem Ransom led Seward with 14 points.

BARTON (27-6): Unrau 0-5 0-0 0, Kuteyi 6-14 0-0 15, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Parker 2-7 3-6 8, Cumberbatch 4-4 2-2 10, Key 10-24 2-4 22, Johnson 3-8 0-0 6, Goodson 0-0 1-1 1, Stephens 2-2 4-6 8. Totals 27-64 12-19 70.

SEWARD COUNTY (25-8): White 2-2 0-0 4, Bridgeforth 2-3 1-2 5, Smith 1-2 3-4 5, Hill-Bey 4-8 1-1 11, Cobb 2-5 2-2 6, Purtue 0-1 0-0 0, Ransom 4-13 5-7 14, Avila 3-5 2-3 8, Peters 3-16 5-6 11. Totals 21-55 19-25 64.

Halftime — Barton 36, Seward 34. Three-point shooting — Barton 4-15 (Kuteyi 3-6, Parker 1-3, Unrau 0-5, Key 0-1). Seward 3-18 (Hill-Bey 2-4, Ransom 1-5, Peters 0-7, Cobb 0-2). Rebounds — Barton 41 (Stephens 11). Seward 36 (Avila 7). Assists — Barton 13 (Parker 5). Seward 13 (Peters 5).

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