Newton, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-If Garden City’s opening round game of the 39th annual Newton Invitational was on the board at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, bettors would have mortgaged their homes on Kapaun Mt. Carmel. After all, the Crusaders came in as the fourth-ranked team in 5A with their only losses coming to the top two teams in 6A. But gamblers never measured the guts and grit of David Upton’s squad.
Abbie Dart scored 17 points; Jaymie Bernbeck added 15, and Garden City overcame a seven-point deficit to beat Kapaun Mt. Carmel 58-53 at Ravenscroft Gymnasium Thursday afternoon.
“I’m so proud of these girls,” Upton said. “They earned this one.”
That they did, and then some. But the coach had a major hand in this one, especially his lineup-utilizing three posts players against the guard-oriented Lady Crusaders.
“Our zone, with those three big girls in there really helped us,” Upton said. “Our defense was special today.”
And they had to be, after Drake-commit Sammie Bachrodt scorched the Lady Buffs to the tune of 22 first-half points.
“The girls did an unbelievable job on her (Bachrodt) in the second half,” Upton said. “They deserve all the credit.”
After going 9-of-17 in the first 16 minutes, Bachrodt was just 3-of-9 shooting in the final two quarters. She finished with a game-high 30 points. The rest of her team combined for just 23 points on 9-of-28 from the field.
“She’s (Bachrodt’s) special,” Upton said. “So to contain her after she scored 22 in the first half was big time.”
Kapaun Mt. Carmel (8-3, 8-1) had their chance to pull away late in the first half, building a 30-23 lead at the 1:00 mark of the second quarter. But the Buffaloes never wilted, answering with 16-8 run to take a 39-38 advantage on the back of Jessica Carrillo’s transition layup midway through the third quarter. After that, the team exchanged body blows until Anna Born’s triple from the corner tied the game at 48 with 2:40 remaining. Then it was an unlikely source that gave Garden City (8-5, 2-2) the lead for good.
With the game knotted up, Berbeck missed an open jumper on the baseline. But no one boxed out Alexis Elliott, who grabbed the offensive rebound and converted on the second of two put-back tries. That sparked an 8-3 run to the finish line.
“You can’t say enough about what these girls did today,” Upton said. “This was a major step.”
Breece Dreiling, who scored the game’s first four points, finished with 11 and four rebounds. Jessica Carrillo added 10 points and five boards.
Anna Born scored eight points for Kapaun Mt. Carmel, who shot just 29 percent in the second half.
Tip ins: Garden City shot their highest percentage (45) since the Holcomb game (48)…This was the first ever meeting between the two teams…Garden City outrebounded the Crusaders by nine 32-23…There were seven lead changes and eight ties; the Buffaloes largest advantage was 58-50 in the final minute; Kapaun’s was 30-23 with 1:00 left in the second…It’s the Buffaloes first opening-round win in the Newton Tournament since 2011
Next up: vs. Bishop Miege-Friday, January 30-6:15 p.m. pregame; 6:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR