By BRETT MARSHALL
Garden City's Lady Buffaloes' basketball team dusted off the bad memory of a Class 6A sub-state semifinal home loss from the season before, and an early 8-0 deficit, before rolling out perhaps its best overall performance of the season to dominate Wichita Northwest 66-40 on Wednesday night at The Garden.
The victory, which improves the Lady Buffs' season record to 13-8, moves them into Friday's sub-state championship game against No. 2-seeded Maize, a 56-25 winner, also on Wednesday night, over Haysville-Campus. The winner of Friday's game will move on to the state tournament, which begins Wednesday in Wichita at Koch Arena.
It was a total team effort, in which the Lady Buffs shared the ball with numerous assists that led to easy baskets.
A hot-handed shooting night, spearheaded by senior Taryn Tempel's 22 points, a season high, came on a blistering 9-of-12 shooting from the field and a pair of free throws. She was 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
"We were determined not to let what happened a year ago (37-36 loss to Dodge City in the semis) happen again here at home," Tempel said afterward. "I feel like we're having fun, cheering each other on, and when we do that, we play pretty good."
That early 8-0 deficit caused head coach David Upton to call a a timeout at the 5:55 mark of the first period to settle down his team. And it worked.
"I just told them to shake it off," Upton said of his brief speech. "We were a little nervous. But they came right out, snapped out of it, and I thought played very well from there. When we get out and run, and have fun, we're a pretty good team in transition."
By the end of the opening quarter, the Lady Buffs had trimmed the deficit to 8-7 and then came the pivotal second quarter, when they exploded for a 22-4 blitz, resulting in a 29-12 halftime advantage.
"We didn't get too antsy, and I think everybody played well," said Tempel, who also got double-figure scoring support from Jaymie Bernbeck and Jessica Carrillo with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Carrillo came off the bench to score all her points in the second half to go along with a game-high seven rebounds.
Tempel said she thought the Lady Buffs had a good shooting night, and she couldn't have been more right. They finished the game hitting 28 of 50 shots for 56 percent while holding the Lady Grizzlies (9-12) to just 30.4 percent on 14-of-46 shooting. Northwest did hit 6 of 12 from behind the arc, and got 15 points each from leading scorers Cassie Pauls and Calea Carr.
The Lady Buffs never let the Grizzlies get a taste of a comeback with an 18-13 third-quarter advantage that lifted them to a 47-25 lead after 24 minutes.
Rebounding was another strength in the game, as the Lady Buffs owned a 36-26 advantage on the boards.
"Last year was a tough one, and we wanted to come out and make a statement that this would be different," Upton said.
Now it's one game away from the state tournament, a place the Lady Buffs haven't been since 2009. And Tempel wants to see that change.
"As seniors, all of us, we all know it's our last chance to get to state," said Tempel, who became the school's all-time leading scorer late in the regular season and now has accumulated 1,023 career points.
Wichita Northwest 8 4 13 15 -- 40
Garden City 7 22 18 19 -- 66
Wichita Northwest (9-12) — Soliz 0-7 0-0 0, Carr 6-11 0-1 15, Bagsby 1-2 0-0 2, McIntyre 0-2 0-0 0, Hall 0-1 0-0 0, Gales 0-3 0-0 0, Cooper 1-3 0-0 2, Fitchpatrick 0-0 0-0 0, Pauls 4-10 5-8 15, Williams 0-4 1-2 1, Hall 2-3 0-0 5. Totals 14-46 6-11 40.
Garden City (13-8) — Linenberger 0-1 0-2 0, Hinde 2-2 1-2 5, Dart 3-7 2-3 9, Brunson 0-1 0-1 0, Tempel 9-12 2-2 22, McKee 1-4 0-0 2, Dreiling 2-5 0-0 4, Bernbeck 5-8 1-3 11, Carrillo 5-8 0-0 10, Elliott 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 28-50 7-15 66.
3-point goals--WNW 6-12 (Carr 3-4, Cooper 0-1, Pauls 2-6, Hall 1-1), Garden City 3-7 (Dart 1-2, Tempel 2-3, McKee 0-1, Carrillo 0-1). Rebounds--WNW 26 (Carr 5), Garden City 36 (Carrillo 7). Turnovers--WNW 15, Garden City 13. Fouls--WNW 17, Garden City 15. Fouled out--none. Technical fouls--none.