State Colleges

Grizzlies get their chance at region title

Early in the season, the focus for the Butler Community College men's basketball team became the number 34.

As in making sure they played 34 games this year. As in making sure they played in the Region VI title game.

"Get to 34, that's what we kept saying," Butler forward Troy Pierce said. "Now we're there."

The Grizzlies took down Seward County 67-65 on Sunday night in the Region VI semifinals — Butler's 33rd game of the year — to advance to today's Region VI championship game against Coffeyville, the first appearance in the finals for the Grizzlies since losing to Seward in 1998. Butler hasn't won a Region VI title since 1996.

Jayhawk West player of the year Caleb Walker led the Grizzlies with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists against the Saints, and Pierce added 17 points and seven rebounds.

"We lost in the semifinals last year and we decided we wanted to keep the program headed in the right direction," Butler coach Mike Bargen said. "I'm proud of how our sophomores stepped up tonight and I thought Troy and Caleb were really, really good."

After a back-and-forth first half in which the teams traded leads seven times, South product Marky Nolen hit a runner right before the halftime buzzer to give the Saints a 34-33 lead at the break.

Butler (28-5) responded immediately in the second half, opening up with a 6-0 run for a 39-34 lead, but Seward came back to tie the game at 43-43 on a Donte McCarter basket with 13:04 remaining. The Saints took the lead back for the last time at 48-46 with 11:53 to play following a Robert Sigala steal and layup.

Butler's Kyle Sloan answered back just over a minute later with his third three-pointer of the game to give the Grizzlies back the lead for good.

"Kyle saw his opportunity and he took advantage of it," Walker said. "And winning and getting in this position isn't just special to me or any one person on the team. It's special to all of us."

Seward (24-9) had a chance to tie at the buzzer, but missed on a tip-in attempt after a missed free throw by McCarter.

McCarter and Nolen led the Saints with 18 points each.

"Mike (Bargen) runs a great program, and after we missed on that tip my first thought was to go congratulate him," said Seward coach Bryan Zollinger, who won a Region VI title in 1998 with the Saints. "But you give it a little bit and the emotions start to kick in. You realize how special your sophomores are to you and how much you'll miss them."

BUTLER (28-5): Cousin 11, Hilyard 5, Morgan 0, Pierce 17, Sloan 9, Brooks 3, Walker 18, Gibbs 4, Ingram 0. Totals 21-48 19-26 67.

SEWARD COUNTY (24-9): McCarter 18, Sigala 8, Thaw 0, Moore 0, Nolen 18, Sturanovic 0, James 8, Tassin 5, Agard 8. Totals 23-56 16-20 65.

Halftime: Seward 34, Butler 33. 3's: Butler 6-23 (Sloan 3, Cousin, Hilyard, Walker); Seward 3-11 (Sigala 2, Tassin). Rebounds: Butler 41 (Brooks 9); Seward 27 (Nolen 10). Assists: Butler 12 (Walker 5); Seward 11 (McCarter 3, Sigala 3).

Coffeyville 64, Hutchinson 51 — Coffeyville locked down Hutchinson leading scorer Joe Mitchell, holding him to seven points and the Blue Dragons to a season-low point total as the Red Ravens rolled into the Region VI title game with a surprising rout.

Coffeyville led by 56-33 with 7:45 left to play after starting the game down 7-0.

"Getting over a 20-point lead against a team as talented as Hutchinson is very unexpected," said Coffeyville coach Jay Herkelman, who will try for his sixth Region VI title today. "We really guarded well for 40 minutes. We made it tough for them to get good shots."

Kevin Broussard led the Red Ravens with 16 points.

HUTCHINSON (27-6): Stewart 8, Frantz 5, Barrett 0, Mitchell 7, Reed 12, Flowers 7, Barnes 3, Holloman 5, Davis 4. Totals 17-50 14-23 51.

COFFEYVILLE (22-11): Hardyway 5, Wilson 9, Broussard 16, Bransford 11, Peterson 0, Johnson 7, Townsend-Gant 2, Bowlin 4, Biggers 10. Totals 24-56 13-20 64.

Halftime: Coffeyville 33, Hutchinson 21. 3's: Hutchinson 3-17 (Frantz, Reed, Flowers); Coffeyville 3-13 (Wilson, Broussard, Johnson). Rebounds: Hutchinson 34 (Davis 9); Coffeyville 41 (Bransford 9). Assists: Hutchinson 7 (Frantz 3); Coffeyville 13 (Broussard 3).

Women's Semifinals

Labette 54, Hutchinson 49 — Jayhawk East player of the year Satoria Bell hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds left to give the Cardinals a 51-49 lead, then Hutchinson's Sasha King turned the ball over in the backcourt on the ensuing possession to seal the defeat for the defending Region VI champion.

King led the Blue Dragons with 15 points, all in the second half. Bell finished with 17 points and Kellindra Zachery added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Labette, which will face Seward County in today's final.

HUTCHINSON (29-4): Hirsh 2, Robben 8, McGhee 6, King 15, Uba 6, Campbell 6, Sander 4, Punch 2. Totals 20-48 3-6 49.

LABETTE (30-3): Bell 17, Zachery 14, Sunde 0, Smith 13, Kelly 7, Pledger 3. Totals 19-51 13-19 54.

Halftime: Labette 26, Hutchinson 25. 3's: Hutchinson 6-13 (King 3, Robben 2, Sander); Labette 3-14 (Bell, Smith, Pledger). Rebounds: Hutchinson 26 (Robben 6, Campbell 6); Labette 35 (Zachery 11). Assists: Hutchinson 10 (McGhee 2, King 2, Uba 2, Campbell 2); Labette 8 (Kelly 3).

Seward 86, Cowley 64 —Seward County's Rachel Barnes came up just shy of a quadruple-double with 41 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists and seven steals as the Saints rolled into the final.

SEWARD COUNTY (31-2): Junior 11, Sanchez 0, Skomal 2, Washington 0, Lassley 5, Spresser 6, Barnes 41, Robinett 0, Rosario 13. Totals 30-76 20-33 86.

COWLEY (21-11): Saunders 15, Silva 0, Vieyra 2, Lee 0, Allen 0, Gonzalez 7, Johnson 7, Angell 0, Sonka 11, Woods 22. Totals 23-55 16-26 64.

Halftime: Seward 41, Cowley 23. 3's: Seward 6-21 (Barnes 3, Junior, Ginther, Lassley); Cowley 2-13 (Gonzalez, Sonka). Rebounds: Seward 54 (Barnes 16); Cowley 40 (Woods 10). Assists: Seward 19 (Barnes 9); Cowley 9 (Silva 2, Johnson 2, Sonka 2).