Coffeyville opened up Jayhawk Conference play in the best possible way Wednesday, the women earning a 69-62 victory over Cowley and the men following suit at 80-76.
The Red Raven women got off to a slow start, letting the Tigers pull out to an early 13-2 lead. Missed opportunities further allowed Cowley to hold onto its lead, but Coffeyville stayed within striking distance for the majority of the first half. Bouncing between low double-digits and just a few points, the Ravens took advantage of early Cowley foul trouble to pull itself close again and again. Coffeyville trailed at the half by 3 points, 32-29.
In the second half, the lead would never grow again to lengths seen in the first two quarters. Continuing upon its approach in the first half, Coffeyville kept looking inside, allowing players such as Faith Simpson and Nakia Cullom to take high-percentage shots and further make up for an off-night from outisde the arc. After getting back to within 1 by the end of the third quarter, the Ravens dominated the fourth quarter 21-13 to take the 7-point win back home.
Simpson led the Ravens with 19 points, while Cullom provided 18 off of the bench on 8-of-12 shooting. The Raven women have extended their winning streak to 7-0 and start out conference play at 1-0.
The Red Raven men, much like the women before them, fell behind early on. The Tigers used a full court press to frustrate Coffeyville, and shot well from outside to create a large deficit. After falling behind 14-4, Coffeyville began its long climb back into the ballgame, chipping away with mid-range jumpers and second chance efforts. The team eventually earned its first lead at 25-24 following a deep Dayshawn Wiley three-pointer. By halftime, the Ravens had built their slim lead to 2 points at 35-33.
The two teams continued to trade the lead early in the second half, but Coffeyville eventually built a double-digit lead of its own at 57-47. Holding that lead proved to be difficult, however, and things evened out once again in the final few minutes. Leading 67-65 with 16 seconds to play, Deng Mayar had a chance to put the game out of reach with two free throws. However, he would sink only one of the two, allowing Cowley's Raishaun Brown to hit wild 3-pointer from the corner to force overtime.
Despite the setback, and the blown lead, Coffeyville proved themselves to have the tougher mental in the extra few minutes. A small lead once again emerged, allowing for slower play that chewed up time off the clock. Cowley would have chances to bring the game back to within one possession in overtime, but missed free throws en masse allowed the Ravens to eventually come away with the 4-point win.
Love Bettis led all scorers with 22, while Mayar and Noah Butler turned in efforts of 15 and 14 points respectively. The men are now 4-3 on the season and 1-0 in conference play.
Both teams will again be on the road Saturday, traveling to western Kansas to face Garden City. Both games can be heard on US98.1, KUSN. Pregame will start at 1:30 PM for a 2:00 PM tipoff.