Garden City, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–Saturday night games inside Conestoga Arena saw a pair of nationally ranked teams from Hutchinson come to Garden City to face the Broncbuster basketball teams. Both games turned into pretty good battles, but in the end, the Blue Dragons would come away with a pair of wins. Big runs for the Hutch women’s team in the second half helped them pull away for a 73-59 win, while the men’s game went to the wire, as the Blue Dragons got a game-winning basket with 34 seconds remaining to win 68-64.
Garden City would come out scoring the first points of the game. In fact, their first three quarter saw them starting out with good runs, with two 4-o runs and a 5-0 run to begin the second half. No. 12 Hutchinson took an 11-10 lead after the first 10 minutes, using a 9-2 run to end the first quarter. The Lady Busters came out strong in the second quarter, taking a 19-14 lead with 7:09 left in the half. Hutchinson (7-2, 5-2) warmed up from the floor, and closed the final seven minutes of the half on a 19-7 run to take a 33-26 lead at the break. The first half saw five ties and five lead changes.
To begin the second half, Garden City (5-5, 3-4) scored the first five points of the second half to pull to within 33-31 with 7:43 remaining in the third quarter. However, that was the closest the Lady Busters got for the rest of the night. Hutch would go on a 12-0 run to push their lead to 45-31 with a little over four minutes left in the third frame. Garden City showed some fight, and pulled back to within 51-43 going into the final period.
In the final period, the Lady Busters had an opportunity early to get to within six, but couldn’t connect. The Lady Blue Dragons would essentially put the game away with a 15-0 run over the first five minutes of the second half to lead 66-43 with 5:07 remaining. Garden City went nearly five and a half minutes without a point from late in the third to the fourth quarter. Hutchinson would see their lead grow to 73-49, before the Lady Busters scored the games final 10 points.
Four Lady Blue Dragons were in double figures, led by Alicia Brown with 21 points, 16 from Liberal grad Jada Mickens, who also had 15 boards. Dodge City High alum Tia Bradshaw added 15 and Dejanae Roebuck finished with 12. Hutchinson finished 48% from the floor after shooting just 20% in the first quarter, and they outrebounded the Lady Busters 37-22.
Garden City was led by Jada Washington with 11 points and Kala Jones added 10 off the bench. The Lady Busters struggled from the floor all night, shooting just 29% for the game. They were 9-15 from the foul line.
Coach Charinee Mitchell Postgame
The fans were treated to a whale of a game, that saw seven ties and five lead changes. While the shooting was a struggle for both teams, the intensity inside Conestoga Arena was at a peak level.
Garden City would amp the crowd up early on with a Jeff Otchere posterizing dunk and a Jamir Thomas throwdown off a turnover to give the Busters an 11-6 lead with 15 minutes left in the first half. Out of the Hutchinson timeout, the Blue Dragons, used a 10-3 run to take a 16-14 lead with 12 minutes left in the half. Garden City would not lead for the rest of the first half, as Hutch would build their lead up to 29-21 with 4:17 left in the half. The Busters would pull to within 29-25 and 32-28, late in the first half, as the Blue Dragons took a 34-28 halftime lead.
To begin the second half, Garden City (8-3, 4-3) opened up with the first five points to pull to within 34-33 with 18:40 left. The Busters would eventually use a 9-4 run to take their first lead of the second half at 42-41 with 13:10 left on a Russhard Cruikshank three pointer. However, the lead would last just 17 seconds. And it would be their final lead of the game. No. 1 Hutchinson saw their offense come to life over the next five minutes. The Blue Dragons used a 14-3 run to build their biggest lead of the night at 55-45 with 7:14 left.
Just when you thought the defending national champions were going to run away with the game, Garden City had other thoughts. The Busters clamped down on defense, and used an 11-3 run to get to within 58-56 with 4:10 remaining on a Cruikshank layup. Hutchinson would take a 64-57 lead with 2:41 left. Garden City would have another run in them, scoring seven points over the next minute to tie the game at 64 with 1:18 left on a Pierre Johnson layup. The Busters had a couple chances to take the lead back in the final minute, but misfired.
After a missed three by Garden City, Hutchinson raced down the court and got the game-winning basket from Devonte Bandoo with 34 seconds left to go up 66-64. The Bustes had one more shot. A Theo Holloway missed three-pointer with about five seconds left missed, and after a tie up at midcourt with one second left, the Blue Dragons inbounded the ball and got a late layup for the final points of the night to win 68-64.
Hutchinson was led by J.J. Rhymes with 15 points, while James Rojas had 12 and Rheaquone Taylor added 11. The Blue Dragons shot 38% for the game and were 21-32 at the foul line.
Garden City was led by Jamir Thomas with 27 points and 14 rebounds, while Pierre Johnson added 14 points. The Busters shot 39% for the game and were just 9-15 at the foul line.
Hutchinson won the rebounding battle 39-33.
Coach Brady Trenkle Postgame
Up next for Garden City is a trip to Concordia to take on the Cloud County Thunderbirds on Wednesday, and will come home for their final home game before the break on Saturday against Pratt. Hutchinson will play at Butler on Wednesday.
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