January 29, 2023

Season over: Cloud County finishes off Broncbusters

Highlights

Box Score

Listen to the complete game in our archives section

Wichita, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Garden City Coach Nick Salazar was hoping Cloud County’s 27-point victory 10 days ago was just one of those regular-season anomalies; something that would be washed away with a fresh start in the postseason.

Instead, Tuesday’s Region VI quarterfinal was a carbon copy of what the Thunderbirds dished out on their home floor on Feb. 20.

Erin Alexander scored 17 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, Chelsie Kizart and Kaley Broeckelman each tallied 15, and Cloud County eliminated the Broncbusters with a 70-51 victory at Hartman Arena on Tuesday.

“They couldn’t miss and we couldn’t hit anything,” Salazar said afterwards. “It was just one of those games.”

Donasja Scott got Garden City on the board first with a layup, much like she did in their final regular-season matchup with the Thunderbirds. But Garden City missed their next eight shots while Cloud County (23-9, 13-6) scored nine consecutive points to take the lead for good.

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Broeckelman hit two treys and scored eight points in the first 10 minutes, as the Thunderbirds built a 22-8 advantage with 1:36 left in the quarter.

Then another backbreaker.

With time winding down in the opening frame, Darby Price buried a baseline jumper just as the buzzer sounded, giving Cloud County a 12-point lead heading into the second. They eventually stretched that to 21 before Scott and Shala Dobbins combined to score eight of the final 10 Garden City (21-11, 14-5) points to pull them to within 15 at the break.

“I’m mad at myself,” Salazar said. “It’s one of those things where you look back and say you could have done so many things differently. We just never found any sort of rhythm.”

Garden City could never muster any sort of a run. And even when they did pull to within 12 midway through the third quarter following DeRae Lewis’s layup, there was never any sense that the Broncbusters were in the game.

Garden City turned it over on their next possession, and Broeckelman, Price and Kristina Farber hit buckets to push the lead to 18. The Broncbusters never got closer than 14 the rest of the way.

Salazar’s team shot just 6-for-29 (21 percent) from the field in the second half. They finished the night 3-for-17 (18 percent) from behind the arc.

“Ever since the Hutchinson game, we just haven’t had the confidence,” Salazar added. “We haven’t shot the ball well for a while now. Today just was the culmination.”

Katelyn Thomson added six for Cloud County, who won their ninth straight game. Price added six points and three rebounds.

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Dobbins led the Broncbusters with 13 points and 10 rebounds. It was her second double-double of the season. Scott notched her fourth double-double of the year with 12 and 10 boards, and Jaymie Bernbeck added 11.

Tip ins: Cloud County moves on to play Cowley in the semifinals on Wednesday, the Tigers beat Coffeyville 56-51…The Thunderbirds advanced the semifinals for the first time since 2012…Garden City closed the season by losing four of their last five games