Butler Community College women's basketball eyes third straight Region VI championship

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette

The Region VI tournaments get underway Monday night at their respective higher seeds gymnasiums and due to COVID, it'll be that way for the first two rounds and then they move to Friends University for the semifinals and the championships for the men's and women's Division I brackets. 

Here is a quick break down of the tournament and who to watch for:

Favorite: Butler Community College (19-2)

It appears as long as the Grizzlies can avoid Coffeyville, they should be the odds-on favorite to win their third consecutive Region VI championship.

The Red Ravens swept the head-to-head series with Butler. The Grizzlies could see them again in the semifinals if Coffeyville can pull an upset over Barton in the second round. 

Butler should be the favorite over anyone on the top half of the bracket, including top seed Hutch. The Blue Dragons get the top seed due to alternating bracket layouts. Each year, the West and East take turns letting their best team be the No. 1 seed. Last year, it was Butler. This year it's Hutch. 

Butler's Skyla Knight (1) drives by Independence CC's Delani Harris (14) in the first half in Saturday's game at Independence CC. Knight scored 18 points as Butler won 68-46.

Dark horse: Seward County (16-5)

It's a weird basketball season when we're not talking about the dominance of Seward County as we head into the postseason. However, I think the Lady Saints are loving that as they are the fifth seed and will play Neosho County (4-17) Monday night. 

What makes the Lady Saints a scary team to face is their ability to shoot the three. They are second nationally in attempts per game (Neosho 750 is first), their 218 makes are tied for the most in the nation (Claredon, TX). How do you combat teams who can beat you up in side? You spread them out and you hit the three. If they can figure out how to do it for four straight games, maybe the Lady Saints punch a ticket to Lubbock.

Longshot: Allen County (1-21)

This is almost a little unfair to put the Red Devils here. While they have almost little to no shot and in most years, this would be enough to keep them out of the tournament, we should have gone with another team like Northwest Kansas Tech. However, as the worst team in the West bracket gets dropped, Allen qualified on sheer location alone. 

Their lone win was over Dodge City on Feb. 10. They lose by an average of 32.1 points per game. I'd move them onto the next round if they were within 15 of Barton. 

Players to watch

Here are five players to keep an eye on in the tournament

Faith Simpson, Coffeyville Community College

The Sophomore is a dominant post player and can really dictate a game down low. She is aggressive and that in turns leads to fuel for her team. She's the consummate leader and coaches around the league talk about how she is such a mismatch for most teams in the conference. Simpson averaged 15.6 points per game on 51.3 percent shooting. She also pulls down 9.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. 

Tor'e Alford, Hutchinson Community College

While the Blue Dragons are pretty spread out in their production everything runs through Tor'e Alford. She's a 45.8 percent 3-point shooter and averages 11.5 points per game. She missed the first Barton game and was in foul trouble in the next one. As Alford goes, it appears, so do the Blue Dragons. Alford is shooting over 50 percent from the field and from three in wins. However, she's a sub-30 percent shooter in both categories in losses. 

Skyla Knight, Butler Community College

Knight, who transferred to Butler from Arkansas-Little Rock has been an explosive guard the Grizzlies have been able to ride for most of the season. She can score in waves and really can take over a game if given the opportunity. She's averaging 15.3 points per game on 50 percent from the floor and 76.1 percent from the free throw line. She's also averaging 2.8 steals per game, which is third in the conference.

Vanessa Oduah, Barton Community College

Watch for Barton's Vanessa Oduah as she is a do-it-all for the Cougars. She's averaging 16.3 points per game, third in the league. She also averages 4.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Oduah is also no stranger to big time moments as she hit a buzzer beater to knock off Hutch in the Region VI last season's semifinal game. 

Sierra Morrow, Seward County Community College

The Sophomore transfer who followed her coach from Iowa has exceeded in Liberal. Morrow is averaging 18.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. While she's not a big time three-point shooter like a lot of her teammates, she's not afraid to step out and make teams guard her. 

Her 3.6 blocks per game is fourth nationally and easily best in the conference. 

Region VI Schedule

First Round schedule

Game 1: No. 9 Pratt (8-13) at No. 8 Cowley (14-8), 6:30 p.m.

Game 2: No. 12 Neosho County (4-17) at No. 5 Seward County (16-5), 6 p.m.

Game 3: No. 13 Dodge City (6-15) at No. 4 Independence (16-6), 5 p.m.

Game 4: No. 14 Allen County (1-21) at No. 3 Barton (17-15), 5:30 p.m.

Game 5: No. 11 Northwest Kansas Tech (6-14) at No. 6 Coffeyville (14-6), 5:30 p.m.

Game 6: No. 10 Cloud County (10-11) at No. 7 Garden City (12-10), 5:30 p.m.

2021 Region VI

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.