By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

After suffering a disappointing loss on Friday at home to Great Bend, it was important for the Garden City Lady Buffaloes basketball team to get off to a fast start on Tuesday against Liberal in another Western Athletic Conference matchup.

And that's just what they delivered, sizzling early en route to a 23-7 first quarter lead, and then cruising to a 58-40 victory over the Lady Redskins at The Garden.

"We pushed the ball better and our shots were going down," said senior point guard Jacksenie Tornero, who broke out of a mild shooting slump with eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the first half. "I thought we had more energy and that's really important for us."

Indeed, the Lady Buffs had one of their best shooting nights of the season, hitting 46 percent of their shots from the field (23 of 50), including 4 of 8 from behind the arc.

"We had a lot of intensity to start the game," said GCHS coach David Upton, who watched his team improve to 6-3 overall and 2-1 in the WAC. "Our Monday practice was horrible, and sometimes it's just the opposite of how the game then goes. I thought we put a lot of energy into the first half."

The Lady Buffs pretty much iced this one away with a strong second quarter as well, out-scoring Liberal 15-7 to go into the break up 38-14.

"I thought we had more chemistry tonight, and when we do that, we play much better," Tornero said.

Upton substituted freely in the second half, as all 11 players suited up saw plenty of action.

"It's important for us to get them some court time and not just cleanup minutes," Upton said. "They've got to play when it matters, so I just wanted to see what they would do."

Scoring slowed in the final half, with Liberal winning the second half 26-20. But it was too little, too late.

Junior Jaymie Bernbeck had her third consecutive double-double, scoring a game-high 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. The Lady Buffs dominated the boards 42-22. Jai Chapman had a double-double for the Lady Redskins, scoring 21 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

Taren Tempel also scored in double figures, finishing with 13 points off 4-of-11 shooting and 4 of 7 at the stripe.

Next up for the Lady Buffs will be a 6 p.m. Friday game against Hays High at home.

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Liberal 7 7 11 15 -- 40

Garden City 23 15 11 9 -- 58

Liberal (40) Chapman 8-21 3-5 21, Hernandez 0-1 0-0 0, Ramirez 0-1 1-3 1, Besecker 2-5 2-2 7, Long 0-1 1-2 1, Shelton 1-4 0-0 2, Mickens 4-9 0-5 8. Totals 15-42 7-17 40.

Garden City (58) Padilla 0-4 0-0 0, Hinde 0-1 0-0 0, Dart 1-2 0-0 2, Tornero 3-5 0-0 8, Brunson 0-1 0-0 0, Tempel 4-11 4-7 13, McKee 1-1 3-4 5, Dreiling 1-6 0-0 2, Bernbeck 11-16 1-3 24, Carrillo 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 23-50 8-14 58.

3-point goals--Liberal 3-16 (Chapman 2-7, Hernandez 0-1, Besecker 1-4, Shelton 0-3, Mickens 0-1), Garden City 4-8 (Padilla 0-2, Tornero 2-3, Tempel 1-2, Bernbeck 1-1). Rebounds--Liberal 22 (Chapman 10), Garden City 42 (Bernbeck 10). Turnovers--Liberal 15, Garden City 16. Fouls--Liberal 18, Garden City 15. Fouled out--none.