Tor'e Alford scores 22 points in Hutchinson's 79-69 NJCAA Tournament second-round loss to Georgia Highlands on Friday in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by Joe Morales)
Tor'e Alford scores 22 points in Hutchinson's 79-69 NJCAA Tournament second-round loss to Georgia Highlands on Friday in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by Joe Morales)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

LUBBOCK, Texas – One day after grabbing the lead and never relinquishing it, the roles were reversed on the Hutchinson Community College women's basketball team on Friday in the second round of the NJCAA Tournament.

The Blue Dragons went through a long scoring drought in the first half the No. 3 seed Georgia Highlands took full advantage of with a 15-point unanswered scoring run to build leads as large as 13 points.

The 19th-seeded Blue Dragons couldn't complete the comeback and were eliminated by the Chargers 79-69 on Friday at the Rip Griffin Center.

The Jayhawk Conference co-champion and Region VI champion Blue Dragons end the season with a 29-6 record. The 29 wins tie for eighth most in program history.

Third-year sophomore Tor'e Alford completed her Blue Dragon career with a 22-point performance. Alford was 6 of 10 from the floor, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range. Alford added eight rebounds and five assists. Alford finished her career as the No. 5 all-time scorer in Blue Dragon history with 1,029 points.

Alford hit two early 3-pointers in leading the Blue Dragons to an early 8-0 lead. Mele Kailahi's bucket with 4:26 to play in the opening quarter gave the Blue Dragons a 13-7 lead. The Blue Dragons then suffered through their longest scoring drought of the season of 7 minutes, 3 seconds.

Georgia Highland capitalized, taking a 15-13 lead after one quarter. The Chargers scored 15 unanswered points and led 22-13 with 7:54 to play in the second quarter. The Dragons got as close as six points in the first half, but Highlands led 36-25 at halftime.

The Blue Dragons were out-rebounded 44-31 and allowed Georgia Highlands 17 offensive rebounds. The Chargers had a 19-2 advantage in second-chance points. The Dragons committed 21 turnovers and Highlands scored 28 points off turnovers.

Kailahi finished with 16 points and six rebounds.

Mya Williams was held to 12 points on 4 of 13 shooting. She closed her first season as a Blue Dragon with 651 points, the most points ever scored by a Blue Dragon freshman and the second-most points scored in Blue Dragon single-season history.

Kali Howard finished with nine points.

The Blue Dragons shot 42.6 percent (23 of 54), hitting 8 of 25 from 3-point range and 15 of 21 from the free-throw line.

Alexandra Shishkina led Georgia Highlands with 19 points, hitting 4 of 4 from 3-point range. ShaoTung Lin had 16 points and five assists. O'Mariyah Tucker hit two huge 3-pointers and finished with 144 points and Jada Alston had 10 points

The Chargers shot 39.1 percent from the floor (25 of 64), hitting 10 of 27 from 3-point range and 19 of 29 from the foul line.

Williams converted a three-point play with 9:17 to play in the third quarter to pull the Blue Dragons within 37-30. Alston's transition layup pushed the Highlands lead back to 45-35 with 6:19 to play in the quarter. Highland's lead increased to 12 on a Shishkina 3-pointer at 50-38 with 3:18 to play in the quarter. The Dragons closed the quarter on a 10-5 run capped by a Howard jumper in the paint to cut the deficit to 54-48 with 30 seconds remaining in the period.

Highland surged back to a 10-point lead at 61-51 after back-to-back Tucker 3-pointers. The Blue Dragons cut the deficit to five at 4:38 to play on a Kailahi layup. The Dragons made it a one-possession game at 65-62 after an Alford layup. Lin scored on the next possession to give Highlands a two-possession lead. The Dragons couldn't close the deficit after that.

GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are 87-49 all-time in postseason play, including 20-12 in the NJCAA Tournament. The Dragons are 3-2 in second-round games. … Mya Williams finished ninth on the Dragon single-season 3-point list with 83 and fifth in single-season free throws with 148. … Tor'e Alford finished fifth in career 3-pointers with 161 and third in career assists with 321. … The 2021-22 Blue Dragons scored the third-most points in single-season history with 2,558 points, was third in 3-pointers with 276 and second in single-season free throws with 579.