CONCORDIA, Kansas— The Cloud County Community College women's basketball team earned its seventh win of the season Monday, churning out a 79-59 win over an above average Bethany College JV squad.
Cloud County (7-1 overall), still battling to find consistency on its home floor, was able to pull away in the second half by outscoring the visiting Swedes, 49-35, in the second half.
"It's always 'You're as good as your last game,'" said Cloud County head coach, Brett Erkenbrack. "Our effort tonight wasn't great, but we won. I felt good about Saturday's win (85-44) up at Northeast and I thought we had a good practice (Sunday). Although we may take two steps forward and one step back, we're still basically heading in the right direction."
One thing that has been consistent for the T-Birds the last week has been the play of freshman guard Chase Siedlik as the native of Independence, Missouri poured in a career-high 21 points Monday on 7-of-14 shooting.
It was the fourth straight game with double-figures for Siedlik, who also added four assists and two steals in the victory.
"She continued her good play from Saturday out in Norfolk," said Erkenbrack of Siedlik. "She's probably been our most consistent, steading force out there on the perimeter. I thought she played really well both ends of the floor (Monday),"
After holding a slim 30-24 lead at the half, the T-Birds were able to start putting a gap between themselves and the Swedes in the third quarter.
Sophomore forward Cassidy Haufler scored off a put-back with seven minutes remaining in the third to push the lead back to double-digits at 38-28, and fellow sophomore Scout Frame ballooned Cloud County's lead out to 45-33 two minutes late following a string of five straight points.
Frame finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Haufler went for 17 points and a team-high eight rebounds to pace the Cloud County front court.
"This is lost on a lot of people, and I think I take it for granted sometimes too, but Cassidy didn't play any basketball last season. She went to Kansas State to row and hadn't played in an organized game for a year," Erkenbrack said. "It's taken her a little while to get back in the flow of it. She's going to be a really good player and I thought she showed a lot of positive signs (Monday)."
Sophomore forward Destiny Pittman also added 10 points off the bench, contributing to the T-Birds' 44-28 advantage in points in the paint.
Cloud County also had a stranglehold in the points off turnovers, cashing in 36 giveaways by the Swedes into 43 points.
Despite the turnovers, Bethany College JV wouldn't go away quietly on Monday, rallying back to within 10 points at 67-57 with 4:10 remaining.
The T-Birds quickly put a halt to the Swedes surge as Haufler cashed in a three-point play and Siedlik nailed a 3-pointer the ensuing possession to bump the lead back to 73-57 with 3:07 left in the fourth.
Freshman guard Chiara De Virgilio quietly had a productive night with six points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds, while Faith Martin and Kamryn Collins each added four points off the bench.
Cloud County will now prepare for a 2 p.m. showdown with Iowa Western Community College on Saturday as part of the revived Cloud County Thanksgiving Classic.
"(Iowa Western) is a very talented team and probably the most talented team that we will have seen in the non-conference," Erkenbrack said. "I think it should be a good ballgame and I like having the Thanksgiving Classic back. I think it's nice for the people in the community, maybe people who have family back for Thanksgiving and they have a chance to come out here and watch a game or two. It gives them something to do over the long holiday weekend. It should be fun and we're looking forward to it. I hope we have some nice crowds on Friday and Saturday.
Notes: Former Cloud County forward Keisha Hamilton played for Bethany College JV on Monday, finishing with five points and three rebounds.