NEVADA -- The Cottey College Comets got back into action Friday night after a three-day break, taking on the Fort Scott Community College Greyhounds in what head coach Dave Ketterman knew would be a tough contest before it even started. Ketterman was mostly right, but his squad didn't seem to mind the tough competition as the Comets dispatched Fort Scott by a final score of 70-51.
The Comets did well on the defensive side of the ball in the first half, holding Fort Scott to just 20 points, but things seemed to start to fall apart just a little bit in the second half and the Comets ultimately had to pick up the tempo late in the contest to outlast the Greyhounds after a late offensive onslaught in the second half. The Comets did, however, come out on top in nearly every statistical category, including turnovers, forcing 27 while committing just 14.
Fort Scott came into the night with just six players -- three of whom were walk-ons -- and Ketterman hoped to use his distinct numbers edge to his advantage. Though it didn't work out quite as well as he'd hoped the Comets were able to wear down the Greyhounds just a little bit and finished the game with 11 steals and allowed just a .275 field-goal percentage.
"The plan with their low numbers was to try to push tempo and see if we could gain advantage," Ketterman said. "I don't know if we did or not."
Though the Comets never could get much of a real advantage simply in the numbers and tempo game, they were able to find a way around the Fort Scott defense right from the start and never looked back. The Comets scored the first eight points of the game and kept the pressure on from there, taking a 43-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half got much better for the Greyhounds as they were finally able to get the offense going. After scoring just 20 points in the first half, the Greyhounds picked up the offensive pressure in the final 20 minutes, scoring 31 points, but the Comets echoed their efforts and despite cutting the lead to 12 points at 62-50, the 'Hounds were never able to complete the comeback and the Comets ultimately held on for a 70-51 victory.
Nearly every Comets player who entered the game contributed to the offense as Ketterman's squad finished with nine of 11 players in the scoring column. Sophomore Bailey Braden led the offensive effort for the Comets, putting up 16 points. Blaklee Sanders wasn't far behind as she finished with 13, followed by Dayna Turnbull with 11 and Petra Stankovic with 10.
"We do a pretty good job of sharing the ball," Ketterman said. "We've just got to get kids a little more confident in shooting the ball and knocking down some shots."
As a team, the Comets finished the night 30-for-80 from the field with 47 rebounds and 18 assists.
For the 'Hounds, Burgandie Lewis led the offensive effort with 17 points. She was followed closely by Erika McKenzie with 12 points and Malori Gales with 11.
As a team, the Greyhounds went just 16-for-58 from the field with 39 rebounds, but what bothered Ketterman was Fort Scott's 18-for-31 performance at the free-throw line. "We just fouled them too many times," he said.
With the win, the Comets improved to 3-0 on the year and will complete their four-game homestand with a repeat of the season opener when they take on the Missouri Valley College JV squad on Monday, at 6 p.m. Though the Comets beat Missouri Valley in the first meeting of the year between the two squads, Ketterman believes the next meeting will be different and could be much more difficult.
"I wanted to get something meaningful early in the week before Thanksgiving, so we went ahead and scheduled them on Monday night," he said. "I figured after coming off Fort Scott, that we're going to need something right back pretty quick."
Ketterman gave a similar assessment to the 'Hounds, who will face the Comets in Fort Scott on Dec. 13.
"They had some problems and I think they've still got a couple of their starters who are still on the team, but they didn't play tonight," he said. "So going over to Fort Scott, it will be a totally different situation."
In the meantime, the 3-2 Greyhounds are scheduled to take on Highland Community College on Tuesday Nov. 20, at 6 p.m., in a home contest.