Cloud County Sports
David Wilson, Sports Information Director
EL DORADO— The Cloud County Community College men’s basketball team’s upset of previously No. 1 ranked Hutchinson back on Nov. 15 is a tough one to top when it comes to “biggest win of the season.”But for the T-Birds, Saturday’s 91-85 road win over Butler Community College was certainly a much-needed one.
Playing in its final game of the fall semester, Cloud County (4-8 overall, 2-7 KJCCC) snapped a six-game skid with the come-from-behind victory and now get to head into the spring semester portion of its schedule with momentum back on its side.
“This was a big one and its impact is two-fold,” said Cloud County head coach, Jordan Altman. “We want to enjoy break as much as possible and we get to start that on a good note. We’ll also get to come back from break on a good note and hopefully those first couple practices will be good practices because we’ll will be a little more positive.”
In a form of basketball poetic justice, it was Cloud County’s field goal shooting that was the driving force behind Saturday’s performance.
The T-Birds, who have struggled at times this season to make shots, were a sizzling 58 percent from the floor on Saturday (30-of-52), including a 7-of-10 mark from beyond the arc.
“A lot of it (success) was our shot selection,” Altman said. “We’ve talked about it so many times that, when you’re making shots, you also seem to play a little better defense. We were able to hit some shots from the get-go and it enabled us to do the things we needed to do on defense, as well.”
After trailing 47-36 at the half, the tide turned over the final 20 minutes as the T-Birds scored 55 second-half points, while limiting the Grizzlies to a pedestrian 38 points on 35 percent shooting.
The biggest number that stood out to Altman during his team’s second-half surge was the 17-of-23 (74 percent) mark at the free-throw line.
“We could have gotten complacent (down at the half) and taken some jump shots, but the guys were focused on attacking the rim,” Altman said. “That was the difference. We were able to stay aggressive, get to the free throw line, and make those shots.”
Cloud County took the lead for good midway through the second half as freshman guard Jerome Kidd Jr.splashed back-to-back 3-pointers to give the T-Birds a 65-61 lead with 9:13 remaining.
Kidd Jr. was one of five Cloud players in double-figures with 18 points off the bench on 6-of-10 shooting.
“He definitely stepped it up for us and we got a lot of really good help off the bench tonight,” Altman said. “I’m glad Jerome could go out and get the buckets (Saturday). He was very aggressive and we liked the shots he was taking.”
Redshirt sophomore forward Ramion Burt Jr. was steady again with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while the starting perimeter trio of Alvin Thompson (13 points), Solomon Finley (12 points) and Shawn Lee (10 points) rounded of Cloud’s top scorers.
The T-Birds will be back in action on New Year’s Eve when they host non-conference foe, Oklahoma City Storm, at 2 p.m. that Sunday, December 31.