By AUSTIN COLBERT
Special to The Telegram
HAYS — Garden City High School girls' basketball coach David Upton was a little nervous about his new starting lineup on Friday at Hays High School.
With the midweek subtraction of seniors Jacksenie Tornero and Kristin Padilla from the team, senior Kennedy Brunson and freshman Abbie Dart were thrust into the starting lineup.
"We've had to make some quick adjustments," Upton said. "We came in here tonight with two new starters that haven't started for us all season and we were just hoping to see how this played out. And it went just about as well as the first game went. We were hitting on all cylinders, even though we are short a couple of kids we started the year with."
The end result was an easy 67-24 win over Hays High (0-17) at the HHS gym. Garden City (11-8) won the first matchup 69-27 on Jan. 17 in Garden City.
The Buffaloes got their usual from senior Taryn Tempel (19 points) and junior Jaymie Bernbeck (15 points), but it was the play of Dart and 5-foot-11 sophomore Jessica Carrillo off the bench that really stuck out.
"Our kids were doing a good job tonight of looking for each other and running our offense," Upton said. "They did a great job of setting things up and sharing the ball. (Carrillo) was the benefactor of getting open looks because our guards did a good job tonight and also getting second-chance points off of missed shots."
Carrillo, with only two points at halftime, was the go-to player in the second half. She finished with 12 points and had a field day with the smaller interior players of the Indians. Dart finished with 11 points, a season high for the freshman.
While the Garden City offense was running smoothly, its defense was suffocating. Hays High committed 17 first half turnovers (32 for the game) and trailed 37-16 by halftime. After Garden City took a 6-0 lead, the Indians settled down and got as close at 10-6 before everything fell to pieces.
"It was the same scenario as when we played them at their house," Hays High coach Kirk Maska said. "We couldn't handle their pressure, then we don't get back and we give them easy baskets early. Things kind of roller coastered out of control."
Hays High never threatened in the second half. In fact, the Indians didn't record a second-half field goal until just over three minutes remained in the fourth quarter. Garden City outscored Hays High 19-2 in third quarter, both Indian points coming from the foul line.
No Hays High player reached double figures. Sophomore Audra Schmeidler led the Indians with nine points, five coming in the final three minutes of the game. As a team, Hays High shot 23.5 percent (8-of-34) from the field.
"That's key for us," Upton said about the team's defense. "This year it hasn't been as great as it has been in the past, but it's getting better and all we can ask is we keep getting better at things. We lay our foundation on our defense and its's one of those things we preach."
The Lady Buffs (11-8, 4-3) closes out the regular season with a 6 p.m. Tuesday game at Liberal. They then await the seedings for the Class 6A sub-state which begins on March 5.
Garden City 22 15 19 11 -- 67
Hays 8 8 2 6 -- 24
Garden City (67) — Taryn Tempel 8 1-1 19 Jaymie Bernbeck 6-13 3-4 15, Jessica Carrillo 4 4-5 12, Abbie Dart 4 2-4 11, Elliott 2 0-0 4, Dreiling 2 0-0 4, McKee 1 0-2 2. Totals 27 10-16 67.
Hays High (24) — Schmeidler 4 0-0 9, Schlaefli 2 3-6 7, Smith 1 2-6 4, Schoendaller 0 2-4 2, Kleweno 1 0-0 2. Totals 8 7-17 24.
3-points goals — Garden City 3-12 (Tempel 2), Hays 1-8 (Schmeidler). Rebounds — Garden City 34, Hays 29. Turnovers — Garden City 13, Hays 32.