Lady Busters post rare win at Seward
GCCC women handle Saints with surprising ease in 69-44 rout.
By ADAM HOLT
LIBERAL — The last time the Garden City Community College women won a basketball game at Seward County, none of the current Lady Broncbusters were born.
So snapping that streak with a dominant 69-44 win over the Lady Saints on Tuesday night, and locking up second place in the Jayhawk West, was quite a surprise. Enough of a surprise that when informed that GCCC hadn't won at SCCC since 1992, head coach Alaura Sharp hurried back into the Busters' locker room to tell the team, eliciting a celebratory cheer.
"Were they even born in '92? You know what I mean?" Sharp said. "They weren't even born in '92. They may be '92-'93 babies, '94. What a good win for us. Really proud of how hard we played. Thought we played really hard."
Garden City had a 14-point lead at halftime that ballooned to as much as 30 in the final minutes of the game. Seward County shot just 30 percent for the game and missed its first 14 from behind the arc, finishing 1-of-18 on 3-pointers. The Busters shot 40.7 percent from the field and went 19 of 28 at the foul line in an efficient offensive performance.
Garden City improved to 27-3 and 13-3 in KJCCC play to finish the regular season, finishing second in the division for the second straight year behind Hutchinson. Seward County, which had an outside shot at tying for second in the division by winning its final two games, dropped to 19-4, 11-4.
After needing to come back from 17 points at home in a 65-56 January win, this blowout on the road certainly wasn't expected.
"It's a pleasure to come to Seward and win this game," point guard Mikell Chinn said. "It's such a blessing. We worked so hard. We knew in our minds that — I knew I was not about to leave this gym with an 'L.' I know I was leaving with a 'W.' So I knew. But I didn't expect it to be a 30-point game, so hey."
Tamara Jones had her seventh straight double-double, with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds. Deni Jacobs added 15 points, and Chinn had 14.
In this year's Region VI playoff format, the first two rounds are contested at the higher seed, so Garden City's finish potentially means home-court advantage for two games, should it beat Northwest Kansas Tech on Saturday in the first round.
"Also, it keeps you opposite of Hutch," Sharp said. "Guarantees you those first two round playoff games. Obviously, you've got to take them one at a time."
"It's a blessing," Chinn said. "We worked hard, and we earned it. That's the main thing, we earned it. No one gave us this spot, we earned it."
Chinn was key to Garden City's effort on both ends. Seward County guard Ricquia Jones was held to eight points and none in the first half, and Chinn played tough against Jones, one of the top on-ball defenders in the division.
"I thought she handled herself well," Sharp said of Chinn. "I think she only got it picked from her one time. Ricquia is one of the best defenders that we see. She's a good player. She's a high-energy player. If you keep her frustrated, you have a lot better chance of winning the game. In both of our wins, we were able to get in her head."
Something got into all the Saints' heads. It was a 14-10 Seward County lead at the 8:58 mark of the first half. But after settling in against Seward County's 1-3-1 zone, the Busters started hitting shots, while the Saints struggled. Garden City finished on a 13-0 run over the final five minutes of the half and outscored Seward County 22-4 over the final 8:58 of the half.
After starting the game 7-of-18 from the field, the Saints were 4-of-27 over a period of almost 20 minutes to follow.
No Saints scored in double figures, but every player on the roster registered a point. Madison McLain led the way with nine, followed by Ricquia Jones with eight.
Meanwhile, Garden City's offense started to click, and the Busters cruised the rest of the game.
"I thought there was a moment in time the offense began to click," Sharp said. "And once that offense began to click, and we were trying to find some holes in that zone, I thought some really good things happened from there."
Garden City (69) — Jacobs 4-11 7-8 15, Chisom 4-7 0-0 8, Jones 9-22 4-7 23, Pope 2-5 5-8 9, Chinn 5-9 5-8 14, Green 0-4 0-0 0, Young 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 34-59 19-28 69.
Seward County (44) — Brooks 4-8 0-0 8, Jones 2-8 0-0 5, Blair 2-7 0-0 4, Monte 2-5 0-0 4, McLain 3-15 3-3 9, Burns 0-3 2-2 2, Crandall 1-6 0-0 2, Oledzka 2-2 0-0 4, Ryan 2-4 0-0 4, Tammen 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 18-60 7-7 44.
Halftime — Garden City 32-18. 3-point goals — Garden City 2-8 (Jones 1-4, Chinn 1-2, Chisom 0-1, Jacobs 0-1), Seward County 1-18 (Jones 1-4, Blair 0-4, Monte 0-1, McLain 0-5, Crandall 0-4). Rebounds — Garden City 48 (Jones 12), Seward County 34 (McLain 9). Assists — Garden City 9 (Chinn 3), Seward County 8 (Jones 2, McLain 2). Turnovers — Garden City 15, Seward County 14. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — Seward County (Coach). Total fouls — Garden City 15, Seward County 18.