Central Community College-Columbus women’s basketball turned in one of its better performances in a win over the Concordia College JV last week.
After allowing over 80 points in back-to-back losses, the Raiders turned the tables on an opponent, scored 83 points of their own, shot over 40 percent and picked up their third win of the season.
The trouble was, CCC missed the opportunity to carry that momentum over to the next game. The contest with Hastings College JV scheduled for Monday was postponed to January.
For a team that hadn’t hit better than 40 percent of its shots from the floor this season, the Raiders finally enjoyed an evening of hot shooting and scored more than 20 points in each of the final three quarters.
CCC only averages a field goal percentage of 38 percent, 23 percent from behind the arc and has scored fewer than 60 points four times this season.
So was the win Nov. 29 an indication of things to come or a one-off?
CCC has two opportunities to answer that question this weekend in Beatrice with matchups against Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College and Kansas City Kansas Community College in the Southeast Holiday Classic.
"We're a little bit up and down, but defensively, we've played some pretty good defense at times. It's just a matter of bringing that team camaraderie along," coach Billy Perkins said after practice on Thursday. "With 10 freshmen, it's been hard to develop that team camaraderie."
Perkin's roster includes just two sophomores, and, as he mentioned, 10 newcomers. The two holdovers, Dayzchayion Gardner, out of Fort Worth, Texas, and Alexis Ramaekers, out of Twin River High School in Genoa, have been the mainstays in the starting lineup.
Gardner is scoring nearly 13 points per game while Ramaekers is at nearly nine though both have been good lately.
Ramaekers scored 13 with five rebounds and eight assists in the win over the Concordia JV. She had 15 and seven rebounds against Southwestern Community College.
Gardner put up 20 in the most recent win and 14 two nights earlier.
Most often, they've been joined in the starting lineup by Monica Brooks (15.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG), Averie Miller (6.3 PPG, 46.2 FGP) and Sarah Monahan (3.2 PPG).
The Raiders only have three players who average seven or more points per game.
"Alexis has done a good job for us every game, our point guard, Day Gardner, has done a good job scoring. Monica has done a good job on the low block. If we can get a couple more girls to contribute, and be more active, we'll be better," Perkins said.
CCC opened the year with a loss to Iowa Central , won its home opener against York College, lost four straight before a win over Des Moines Area CC then lost back-to-back games before the win over the Concordia JV.
"I thought our record would be better by now. Lately, we've had some good practices, done a good job staying the course and getting better from game to game," Perkins said.
"Our communication hasn't gotten better, and we're playing more as a unit offensively and defensively."
The most recent win was evidence of that.
CCC trailed by 10 points in the third quarter, fought back and won by 13.
It showed the grit Perkins says his team has always been capable of. Though the record is four games below .500 and includes two losses by three points, he says the team has stayed together.
The Raiders will put that to the test once again this weekend when they face a tough slate in Beatrice.
Fort Scott, 10-1, is the No. 14-ranked team in Division II of the National Junior College Athletic Association ratings. Kansas City Kansas is No. 6.
CCC previously played D-I No. 6 Butler (Kansas) Community College and suffered a 74-31 home loss on Nov. 10.
"It's going to be a good challenge for us. Anytime you play somebody ranked in the top 10, it's going to be tough," Perkins said. "A lot of times, it doesn't boil down to what they do, it boils down to what we do - controlling the tempo, controlling the press, controlling the boards. Stuff that is kind of in our power.
"We can't control us going 20 percent every time from the 3-point line. We can control making sure we make that extra pass, making sure we make that good pass. Just the effort, just go out there and compete. One of our goals is to be that top-ranked team some day. To be able to face these teams and say, 'Hey, this is what we want to do,' is going to be good for our team."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org