By BRETT MARSHALL
Unlike previous seasons when the Garden City Lady Buffaloes and Dodge City Red Demons have met in Western Athletic Conference action, Tuesday night's game at the New Garden wasn't a heartstopper.
Nope, not even close.
There were no last-second shots to produce a win, or turnovers to see a game lost in the closing moments of the game.
The Lady Buffs saw to that early as they stormed to a 13-point first quarter advantage, extended it to 27-point lead by halftime, and coasted to a 60-37 victory over the Lady Demons.
The victory closed out the Lady Buffs pre-holiday schedule and provided them with what is believed to be a program history best start at 5-1, and just as importantly, got them their first WAC triumph.
"The girls did their job tonight," GCHS coach David Upton said. "I thought Dodge struggled to stop us offensively and for quite a bit of the game, our defense was perhaps the best we've played so far."
Sophomore Jaymie Bernbeck scored six of her eight first-half points in the first quarter to help get the Buffs out of the chute early. A 6-0 lead quickly became 12-2, and Jacksenie Tornero's 3-pointer just before the buzzer gave Garden a 13-point cushion after just eight minutes of action.
The Lady Buffs piled it on in the second quarter, going on runs of 12-5 and 11-4 during the second quarter sprint. Garden had connected on 18-of-29 field goals while Dodge, which had committed 15 turnovers in that stretch, was only 4-of-17.
"I thought we smothered them for the most part on defense and was able to control the tempo," Upton said.
Three players scored in double figures, led by junior Taryn Tempel's 15 points, while Bernbeck and Johna McClelland added 10 points each. Five others players got into the scoring column.
"These girls just really do a good job of sharing the ball," Upton said. "Sometimes, they try to share it too much, but they've got a team concept, and I want that to continue."
The Buffs committed a season-low 11 turnovers, while forcing the Lady Demons (2-3, 0-1) into 24 miscues.
With the holiday break upcoming, the Buffs won't return to action until Jan. 4 when they host Great Bend.
"We've got a good taste in our mouth and you get the break with a good feeling," Upton said. "They've done the things they needed to do. They kept their foot on the throttle when Dodge made a little run there in the second half."
The Buffs were in control 51-27 after three quarters, and the lead never went under 20 in the final eight minutes.
Dodge City got 11 points from Ciera Lampe. About the only downside was rebounding, where the Demons had a 32-27 edge. Chandra Sain had seven boards for Dodge while McClelland picked off eight for the Buffs.
Dodge City 4 9 12 10 -- 37
Garden City 17 23 11 9 -- 60
Dodge City (37) — Wilson 1-5 2-2 4, Sain 2-9 3-5 9, Sanchez 1-5 1-2 3, Harshberger 3-5 0-0 6, Roenfeldt 0-5 0-0 0, Altamirano 1-1 0-0 2, Lampe 4-7 1-1 11, Pike 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 12-37 9-12 37.
Garden City (60) — McClelland 5-14 0-0 10, Padilla 2-4 1-1 6, Linenberger 1-2 0-0 2, Carillo 2-4 2-2 6, Tornero 2-3 1-1 7, Brunson 0-2 0-0 0, Tempel 6-11 2-3 15, McKee 1-3 0-1 2, Bernbeck 5-9 0-0 10. Totals 25-53 5-7 60.
3-point goals--Dodge City 4-8 (Sain 2-5, Roenfeldt 0-1, Lampe 2-2), Garden City 3-5 (Padilla 1-1, Tornero 1-1, Brunson 0-1, Tempel 1-2). Rebounds--Dodge City 32 (Sain 7), Garden City 27 (McClelland 8). Turnovers--Dodge City 24, Garden City 11. Fouls--Dodge City 10, Garden City 15. Fouled out--none.