Lady Busters now at 14-0
By ADAM HOLT
It certainly wasn't easy, but the Garden City Community College women's basketball team finished their non-conference slate undefeated, with a 71-62 win over Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on Saturday in the Hutch Clinic Classic.
The No. 11 Lady Broncbusters enter winter break with a 14-0 record. Records are spotty, but it is believed to be the best start to a season in program history. It's at least the best start since the 2002-2003 team that went to the national tournament when they started 12-2.
Garden City got the win over No. 25 Northeastern Oklahoma (9-4) despite shooting 35.3 percent from the field, and battling foul trouble all game.
The Busters were up 42-26 at halftime, but that was after the Lady Norse cut into the lead. Tamara Jones, Shicole Watts, Mikell Chinn and Tahlia Pope were all on the bench toward the end of the first with two fouls each, allowing NEO to finish the period on a positive note.
"They kinda got their momentum going into the locker room, and then we came out and guarded them, but just kinda had some trouble getting some bunnies to fall for a stretch," GCCC head coach Alaura Sharp said.
After shooting 42 percent from the field in the first half, the Busters were just 7-of-28 on field goals in the second. Jones and Watts picked up their third fouls shortly into the final 20 minutes, and the Norse chipped away more at the lead during that stretch.
Garden City guarded well, though, holding Northeastern Oklahoma to 32.8 percent shooting from the field. The Norse have some big post players, so Sharp said she was proud of how the Busters guarded the paint.
"I was really worried about their post players, both of them were shooting 50 percent for the season from the floor," Sharp said. "So we tried to scheme them up a little bit and double their posts, and X-out. And I thought we did a good job defending the paint."
And despite the size mismatch, Garden City out-rebounded Northeastern Oklahoma 52-38. Deni Jacobs had eight rebounds, and Sharp praised her guards for hustling to grab boards — Chinn and Jessica Goble both had nine rebounds.
GCCC was able to convert their 22 offensive rebounds into 14 second-chance points, compared to just four for NEO.
Goble hit a 3-pointer with around 8 minutes to play, which helped Garden City regain some momentum, and Sharp was able to put her starters back in to close out the game.
Jones had 28 points to lead all scorers, and Watts and Jacobs added 13 apiece.
Anna Clark led NEO with 18 points, while Jennifer Williams had 12, and DeVaughn Gray had 11.
Garden City now has almost a month off before hosting Butler to start conference play on Jan. 5. Sharp said said she's happy with how the Busters handled the non-conference portion of their schedule.
The Garden City Community College men's basketball team wasn't able to build on a small winning streak, falling to Murray State College (Okla.), 74-57, on Saturday in the Seward Pizza Hut Classic in Liberal.
The loss left the Broncbusters with an 8-6 record at the conclusion of non-conference play.
"We were on a modest two-game winning streak," GCCC head coach Rand Chappell said. "I would have liked to see us have great focus and energy. I thought in the first 10 minutes of the game, there were some opportunities to even take control. Whether it was focus, or energy, or execution, we really didn't play up to the standard we're gonna need to if we're gonna put together winning streaks during the season and have a successful year."
The Busters struggled shooting the ball again, converting at a 33.9 percent clip from the field. Murray State's size bothered Garden City on both ends of the court.
"We've struggled to get easy baskets on the inside, we've struggled to get cutbacks," Chappell said. "When you get layups and cutbacks, that helps your shooting percentage a lot. We struggled to get that."
On the other end, the Busters ran into foul trouble. Both Arkeem Joseph and Joe Ebondo were saddled with three fouls early in the second half, and picked up their fourth soon after being put back into the game.
It was a 28-24 Murray State lead at halftime, but fouls trouble helped the Aggies build a bigger lead, and they outscored Garden City by 13 in the second half.
Reuben King had 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting. Chris Hall had 13 on 4-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-10 from behind the arc. Chappell said the inability to get inside led to the Busters being impatient and taking too many shots from outside.
Garden City took 30 shots from behind the arc, making just six.
"Instead of making the correction, it actually got worse in the second half," Chappell said. "We got down by a pretty good amount, you get a little desperate. But we needed to stay within our offense and try to either get to the basket some, or try to get to the foul line, because that's easier than making jump shots."
Garden City doesn't play again until Jan. 5 when it hosts Butler to start Jayhawk West play. Chappell said the Busters are looking for more development from their forwards, more consistency on offense and a focus on defense.
and limiting turnovers.
"We're a young team, and for us to be successful, we need continued development out of some individuals on the front line," Chappell said. "We're gonna have to adapt a style — or find a style — that allows us to be successful in conference play."