Newton, KS-It would have been very easy for Garden City to fold the tent following a heartbreaking loss less than 24 hours before Saturday’s seventh-place game.
“I think we’ve turned the corner in some areas as a program,” Head Coach Matt Pfeifer said. “I don’t think we would have responded the same way last year or the year before.”
Garden City blew an 11-point lead and lost to Newton in a game that they should have easily won on Friday. The Buffaloes definitely learned their lesson.
Elyssa Salazar scored 15 points, Felicity Rodriguez grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds, and Garden City topped Kapaun Mt. Carmel 41-37 in the seventh-place game of the 43rd annual Newton Invitational at Ravenscroft Gymnasium.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Pfeifer said with a smile after the game. “But we will take it.”
On Friday night, the Buffaloes couldn’t miss in the early going. On Saturday, they couldn’t find the ocean, missing their first eight shots. They trailed by five at the end of one.
“We got good looks again,” Pfeifer said. “We just have to knock them down.”
Garden City’s cold shooting had them down eight in the second once Jada Mayberry sliced into the paint and hit a running layup high of the glass that put the Crusaders up 17-9 with 6:30 remaining in the half.
“Our girls did a nice job responding,” Pfeifer added. “That’s all you can ask.”
Julie Calzonetti drained a 3, Symon Simmons knocked down two free throws, and Salazar nailed a triple to tie the game before adding a long 2 to put the Buffaloes on top 21-19 at the break. Garden City held Kapaun Mt. Carmel scoreless the final 3:38 of the second period.
“We didn’t close quarters very strong on Friday,” Pfeifer said. “I felt we did some good things today and changed some things up.”
With the lead changing hands twice in the third, Garden City had the last laugh. Keyhana Turner hit her second 3 of the season followed by Salazar’s second of the game, giving the Buffaloes a 29-25 advantage going to the fourth.
“We hit shots when we needed to,” Pfeifer said. “Again, it wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.”
Down by one in the fourth, Salazar buried her final trey of the day to put Garden City up for good. Turner followed with a couple of free throws in the final seconds, and the Buffaloes snapped a 13-game tournament losing streak.
Garden City shot just 25 percent (13-of-51) and was 5-of-21 from 3. The had 13 offensive rebounds and 15 turnovers. Calzonetti, Simmons and Turner each scored six.
Ella Anciaux scored 17 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, who lost their fourth straight game. They shot just 33 percent (15-of-46) and 2-of-13 from 3 (15 percent).
Next up: Garden City vs. Dodge City-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app