Sunday the season came to a close for the Colby Community College men's basketball team after falling to Barton Community College in overtime, 79-72. The Region VI quarterfinal loss at Park City's Hartman Arena was the Trojans' third to the Cougars this season, with two of the losses coming in overtime.
Colby head coach Rusty Grafel was optimistic entering the contest.
"It felt like we were going to win this game from the tip," he said. "We had two really good runs at the right times, the beginning and end of regulation."
The start of the game could not have been scripted better for the Trojans. They rolled out to an early lead and increased the margin to 22-7 around the 10-minute mark. In the next five minutes, however, Barton got hot and went on a 10-0 run. They would eventually close the gap to tie the score at 33 by halftime.
The Cougars carried the momentum through the break and used the first four minutes of the second half to piece together an 11-0 spurt and jump to a 44-33 lead.
The Trojans clamped down on defense and eventually found themselves in a 61-all tie with 1:05 remaining. As they did all season, Colby grabbed multiple offensive rebounds and created opportunities for a go-ahead basket. Unfortunately for CCC, the attempts missed and the game went to overtime.
"We were able to get three shots off in the last 47 seconds of the game," Grafel said. "When all the teams in the conference are this close, it seemed like you needed to hit one of those shots to move on and that was evident with all the quarterfinals games."
The Cougars went on a five-point run to start the overtime and led by as many as 10 on their way to outscoring the Trojans 18-11.
It was the second time Colby lost in overtime to Barton year. The Cougars also won 105-92 Nov. 11 in Great Bend.
Barton's Kawanise Wilkins notched a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Marvin Cannon also contributed 19 off the bench.
Colby finishes the season with a 20-12 overall record and 15-11 in the competitive Jayhawk Conference. The 20 wins are the most in a season by sixth-year head coach Rusty Grafel, and the most by the program since Brian Ostermann's 2003-04 team went 24-7.
"I'm proud of this team," Grafel said. "They really represent what this program is about and helped achieve a lot of things that hadn't been done in a long time here at Colby. These sophomores will be missed, but they will also make their next coach just as happy as I have been!"