BLUE DRAGON MEN'S BASKETBALL
Hutchinson (26-7) vs. No. 13 Seward County (27-5)
Hutchinson CC Sports Information
The Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team plays in its seventh-consecutive Region VI Tournament championship game on Wednesday night.
The 26-7 Blue Dragons, unranked but receiving votes in the final regular-season NJCAA regular-season rankings, take on the No. 13-ranked and Jayhawk West champion Seward County Saints for the right to the automatic berth in the NJCAA Tournament.
Game time is at 7 p.m. at Hartman Arena in Park City. The game will be broadcast live on Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) and sister stations KWBW-AM/FM (1450/98.5) beginning at 6:50 p.m. with Glen Grunwald (play-by-play) and Rusty Hilst (analysis) calling the action. The game will also be streamed live by the Blue Dragon Sports Network at 6:50 p.m.
The Blue Dragons advanced to their 28th Region VI Tournament championship game after defeating No. 3 Coffeyville 94-89 in double overtime on Monday night. Sophomore James Rojas scored a career-high 30 points, including seven in the second overtime to help the Dragons oust the Red Ravens. Freshman Malique Jacobs flirted with a double-double with 13 points and career highs of nine rebounds and eight assists.
Seward County had a much easier time in its semifinal, dominating from the start to eliminate the Barton Cougars 94-70. The Saints jumped out to a 20-4 lead and led 43-15 at halftime. John Brown had 21 points to lead Seward County. Isaiah Small had 20 points and Marco Morency had 19 points. The Saints shot 57.1 percent while holding Barton to 34.7 percent shooting.
The Blue Dragons are going for their 19th Region VI Tournament championship, the first since 2015. Seward County has won five regional titles, the last coming in 2012.
Hutchinson and Seward County have met in the Region VI Tournament on five previous occasions, the first since 2002. Despite dominating the all-time series with the Saints, which dates back to 1970, the Blue Dragons are just 1-4 against Seward County in the Region VI Tournament. Hutch won the first meeting in 1981, but Seward has won the next four in 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2002.
Hutchinson is 0-2 against Seward County this season. The Dragons lost at the Sports Arena on February 2, 87-79 and on February 24 in Liberal, 94-75. In both games, Seward County jumped out to huge leads. The game at the Arena, the Blue Dragons pulled within two points with 3:55 remaining before the Saints closed the game out. Three weeks later, the Dragons trailed 18-2 and never recovered to make a late run.
Blue Dragon head coach Steve Eck, who is tied with Barton head coach Craig Fletchall for third place on the all-time Jayhawk Conference coaching wins list with 426 wins, coaches in his 11th Region VI Tournament title game (7 at Hutch, 2 at Cowley, 2 at Butler County).
With his 30 points in the semifinals vs. Coffeyville, Rojas became the 25th Blue Dragon in team history to reach 900 career points (905).