Barton bursts Lady Busters' bubble
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
After not trailing in any of their last four games coming into Saturday's conference matchup with Barton County at the Perryman Athletic Complex, the Garden City Community College Lady Broncbusters found themselves trailing nearly the entire game after an early 2-0 lead.
The Busters even found themselves trailing by as much as 12, 58-46, eight minutes into the second half.
Despite the recent unfamiliar territory, head coach Nick Salazar's squad began to chip away at the Lady Cougars' lead, getting as close to one, 58-57, with five minutes to play.
And as the play clock ran down to single digits on the Cougars' possession, it looked like the Busters might have a chance to take the lead and perhaps steal a win in a game where they were not playing their best.
Instead, Barton's Taylor Mayes drove the lane, got fouled by Zantaya Davis-Jackson and put in a sprawling shot for the 3-point play. Just seconds later, Davis-Jackson was given a technical for protesting the foul. Despite Mayes missing the ensuing free throw, Mariana Lambert hit both of her free throws stemming from the technical and just like that, the Cougars were back up by five, 62-57. The Lady Cougars pulled away from there for an 80-62 win.
Salazar said after the game he didn't know exactly what Davis-Jackson did to draw the technical.
"I don't know and I don't really care. Whatever it is, hopefully she'll learn from it and move forward," the first-year coach said. "I don't think we should have been in the situation where we were down one. So, you don't look at one player's mistake, although it was a big one."
Salazar also noted that he thought the Busters' energy quickly dropped after the momentum-swinging technical.
"No question. You dig yourself out of a hole — I think it was 11 — We dug ourselves out and had all the momentum," he said. "Sandra (Davis) had just hit a big jump shot, the play clock was way down. I mean, it was demoralizing.
"The play clock was way down, they score and get fouled and then that. Now you call a timeout, you look up, and you're down seven again."
Salazar also explained his team is not ready yet to overcome those obstacles.
"We pride ourselves on trying to be tough, but to overcome that is probably beyond our maturity level right now," he said.
Compounding the mistake by Davis-Jackson was that the technical was her fifth foul, taking her out of a game in which she otherwise was playing well.
She finished with seven points and seven boards without playing the final five minutes.
"It's too bad it's tainted with that at the end," Salazar said.
The Busters were never able to find a second scorer behind Shauqunna Collins, who scored a team-high 17 points. No other Buster had more than eight against a relentless 2-3 zone from the Cougars.
"We took some steps back," Salazar said. "It had been two weeks where I thought we had taken two or three giant steps up the ladder and we got dropped down quite a bit. You go from clearly being the third-best team in the conference to back into the middle with Cloud, Barton, Garden, Pratt in the mix, and that's tough for us."
The loss dropped the Busters to 12-10 overall and 4-3 in the conference after winning their last four.
Meanwhile, Barton, led by Lambert's 23 points on 6-of-9 shooting, improved its record to 16-7 and 4-3.
The loss completes the first half of the KJCCC West schedule as the Busters will begin the back half at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday when they host Hutchinson (21-0, 7-0) at the Perryman Athletic Complex. Hutchinson, ranked No. 3 in the latest NJCAA poll, routed Dodge City 100-34 on Saturday. The teams met previously on Jan. 15 in Hutchinson, with the Lady Dragons rolling to a 77-43 victory.
Barton (16-7, 4-3) — Winbush 2-3 0-0 6, Brantner 3-4 3-4 9, Bruner 5-10 1-2 11, Hedrington 4-11 6-6 14, Lambert 6-9 9-10 23, Anthony 2-7 1-1 5, Bowman 0-1 0-0 0, Mayes 4-7 1-5 9, Lamps 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 27-53 21-28 80.
Garden City (12-10, 4-3) — Davis 3-9 0-0 7, Davis-Jackson 3-8 1-3 7, Morris 3-12 2-2 8, Chisom 3-4 0-2 7, Collins 6-10 5-8 17, Spann 1-3 0-2 2, Inchun 2-5 0-0 6, Christmas 1-6 4-7 6, T Williams 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-58 12-24 62.
Halftime--Barton 37-32. 3-point goals--Barton 5-7 (Winbush 2-2, Hedrington 0-1, Lamber 2-3), GCCC 4-14 (Davis 1-4, Morris 0-3, Chisom 1-2, Collins 0-1, Inchun 2-4). Rebounds--Barton 32 (Bruner 10), GCCC 34 (Davis, Christmas 9). Assists--Barton 15 (Brantner 6), GCCC 8 (Chisom 4). Technical fouls--Barton (none), GCCC 2 (Bench, Davis-Jackson). Fouled out--Barton (none), Garden City (Davis-Jackson, Morris). Total fouls--Barton 18, GCCC 19.