Photo by Adam Shrimplin
Garden City, KS-Charinee Mitchell said the most disappointing aspect about her team’s last two losses was the hustle game.
“I felt like we got outworked,” she said before Wednesday night’s game. “And that doesn’t sit well with me.”
While they dealt with some in-game adversity in this one, the Broncbusters steadied the ship, eventually pulling away from Colby.
Talia Roberts scored 15 of her game-high 20 points in the second half, Deborah Ford added a season-high 12, and Garden City put away the Trojans 72-59 at Conestoga Arena. The win snapped a two-game losing streak.
“Overall, I’m pleased we got the win,” Mitchell said. “At this point in the season, you take them anyway you can get them.”
On Saturday, the Broncbusters built a 10-point first-half lead and lost the game. A few days later, Garden City was off and running again early, closing the opening period on an 18-3 run to take a 22-11 advantage. In the second, Garden City appeared to put their foot on the Trojans’ throat when Ford hit a spinning layup, Felicity Houston knocked down two free throws, and Taneigh Boyd connected on a hook giving the home team a 38-22 lead going into the locker room. Garden City held Colby scoreless the final 2:40 of the first half.
“That third quarter, we just took our foot off,” Mitchell said. “We got way too sloppy with the ball.”
After stretching their cushion to 19 on Jaleah Bellany’s 3 from the top of the key early in the second half, the Trojans went on the attack. Sia Williams answered with a 3, Jordan Dixon finished a three-point play, and Imari Grayson knocked down a midrange jumper, fueling a 12-0 blitz that was all part of a 17-2 run that had Colby within four, 43-39 with 3:17 to play in the third.
“We have to figure out a way to come out stronger in the second half,” Mitchell said. “We didn’t play well at all in that third quarter.”
Give Mitchell’s club a lot of credit. When Dodge City stormed back to erase that double-digit lead on Saturday, the Broncbusters lost their composure. On Wednesday, Garden City matched Colby’s run with one of their own, pushing their lead back to seven at the end of the third. In the final period, Daz’Monique Johnson made it a 10-point game with a layup on the block before Roberts nailed a 3 and hit a midrange jumper to pad their advantage back to 16 with 1:48 remaining.
“We figured out how to get back on the gas in the third quarter,” Mitchell said. “That’s all that matters.”
Roberts finished 7-of-18 from the field in 39 minutes for Garden City, who won for the 17th time in their last 20 meetings vs. Colby. Alyssa Boyce chipped in 16 points, five assists and five steals.
Williams paced the Trojans with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Nyrobi Pillers tallied a season-high 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Next up: Garden City at Barton County-Saturday, Feb. 2-5:15 p.m. pregame; 5:30 p.m. tip on AM 1030; westernkansasnwes.com/kbuf and KBUF mobile app
Garden City, KS-Wednesday night was literally a first for Garden City Coach Patrick Nee.
“I’ve never seen a team close a game like that,” he said.
Growing up in a coaching family, Nee has seen plenty of ups and downs on the hardwood. But the final nine minutes of this game will go down as one of the most perplexing stretches of basketball in some time.
Rian Carter scored 22 points in 38 minutes, the Trojans held Garden City to just two points over the game’s final 9:17, and Colby ran away from the Broncbusters 73-54 at Conestoga Arena.
“I felt like we caught Colby off guard in the first half,” Nee said. “I didn’t think they were ready to play, and we should have been up by more.”
Garden City’s final 20 minutes bared no resemblance to what they did in the first half. Nee’s squad shot 50 percent and led by eight when Jamir Thomas converted a second-chance layup to make it 31-23 with 2:30 to play until the intermission.
“We just missed one opportunity after another,” Nee said. “And when you let a good team hang around, bad things happen.”
Colby trimmed the deficit to four at the half, and took the lead for good on Beaudion’s 3-pointer from the wing with 16:50 to go in the final period. But it never felt like the game was out or reach until that fatal stretch.
Trailing by seven, Jakobi Pearson was fouled shooting a 3. The freshman hit two of three free throws to pull the Broncbusters within five, 56-51. Little did they know, that would be their last points until Claiborne Kyles hit a meaningless trey with 10 seconds left. On the other end, Beaudion hit two free throws followed by a jumper, Moses Bol, who blocked a season-high six shots, hit a reverse layup, and the onslaught officially commenced. The Trojans scored 17 straight points, and when Caleb Jones-McCrary knocked down two free throws, Colby had completed a 30-point turnaround, flipping an eight-point deficit into a 22-point lead, 73-51.
“That was just bad basketball,” Nee said. “We had way too many turnovers, and it seemed like every time we went on a run, they called a timeout and answered us.”
Javion May, who was plagued by foul trouble in the first half, scored 12 points for Colby, who won for the fourth time in their last five games. Bol finished with three points, eight rebounds and six blocks.
Thomas was the lone Broncbuster in double figures with 18 points in 29 minutes off the bench.
Next up: Garden City at Barton County-Saturday, Feb. 2-7:30 p.m. on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app