Atkinson free throws the difference as Larks edge Comets

Freshman point guard Connor Atkinson (Hutchinson, Kan.) connected on three free throws in the final 30 seconds to help lead the Hesston College women’s basketball team past the Cottey College Comets, 71-69.

The Larks had a nice shooting first quarter and took a 16-13 advantage over the Comets into the break. Cottey College responded with a 13-0 run to begin the second and a 26-16 lead. Hesston College crept back into contention with consecutive baskets and trailed only by one point, 35-34 at halftime.

A back and forth third quarter saw the Larks go in front 50-48 with a three-point basket at the end of the quarter by Connor Atkinson. The fourth quarter saw the Comets sneak ahead by two points, 68-66, with under two minutes remaining, before Atkinson converted 3 of 4 free throw attempts down the stretch.

Hesston was paced by Atkinson and freshman forward Kara Horton (Americus, Kan.) who each scored 16 points. Freshman guard Reva Smith (Nowata, Okla.) added 11 for the Larks. Hesston split the series with the Comets, as Cottey College defeated the Larks 67-41 in Nevada, Mo., last month.

“We allowed Cottey College to force us into their slowed down game. Once we sped up and executed our offense, we pulled out the win,” coach Jeff Jacobs commented after the game.

The Larks will begin Region VI play with a home game Saturday, December 10, vs. Northwest Kansas Tech (Goodland). Tip off against the Mustangs will be 2 p.m. from Yost Center.