Lady Busters find balance, rout Pratt

1/23/2014

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

The Garden City Lady Broncbusters desperately needed to find another consistent scorer outside of Shauqunna Collins.

They may have found her on Wednesday night in backup guard Tori Spann.

The 5-foot-7 freshman scored six straight points on driving layups in the middle of the second half to put the 83-58 Jayhawk West conference win over the Pratt Lady Beavers away.

Leading 55-42 halfway through the second period, Spann went on an individual 6-0 run, scoring on three of four Buster possessions, slicing through the Beavers' defense with ease to increase the lead to 61-44.

"I think I bring a lot of energy off the bench," the Wichita-native said. "I mean, I know I don't start, but it's just as important as starting."

What's definitely important to the Busters (10-9, 2-2) is finding a complement to Collins, who is averaging 16 points per game. But when the Busters have struggled this season, they've been unable to find another scorer to get easy looks at the basket.

That wasn't a problem on Wednesday night as the Busters had four scorers in double digits. Spann finished with a season-high 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting, aiding Collins' 18 points on 4-of-12 shooting and 10 of 14 from the charity stripe. Finally, Jasmine Christmas, who started for only the second time this season, and Loysha Morris were both a perfect 6 of 6 from the field. Christmas finished with 13 points and Morris added 12.

"I thought tonight that we kind of had that second gear where somebody was able to make a play," head coach Nick Salazar said. "And that of course is a snowball effect. You make one, you make two, you make three and pretty soon you look up and you're up 30."

The Busters seemingly made a living off runs during the game. After the Beavers closed out the first half on a a run of their own to cut a once 10-point lead to 37-33 at the break, the Busters quickly stretched it to double digits again in the second half as the Busters took advantage of six-straight empty possessions to make it 55-39 with 14:35 to play.

Spann's run kept the Beavers at arm's distance as the Busters cruised to the win.

"We've kind of been a team of runs," Salazar said. "And I think when we've struggled to score its been our inability to kind of get back into a rhythm."

The Busters' runs were cultivated by their rebounding dominance, as they won that battle 38-22. That effort also was led by Collins and Christmas, who hauled in eight boards each.

"When we're fresh, we're really good because it just gives us the ability to play fast," Salazar said.

While the move to start Christmas jump-started the Busters' offense, it's a move Salazar will not likely go to again.

"(We) just wanted to do something new, try to throw Jasmine a bone for practicing hard this week," the first-year coach said. "And it looks like it worked. She played really, really well.

"I'd be surprised if we did it again, but we were looking for a spark and try to keep different teams on their toes, so we thought we'd go with her tonight."

The Beavers were led by Tatian Grant, who had 23 points on 9-of-23 shooting.

The Busters will hit the road to Concordia to face Cloud County at 6 p.m. Saturday in their next conference contest. Meanwhile, the Beavers will host Hutchinson.

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Pratt (14-6, 1-3)--Devlin 2-3 0-0 5, Grant 9-23 5-10 23, Pendry 1-8 0-0 2, Pena 2-4 1-4 5, Stein 5-7, 4-5 14, Dedrick 2-4 0-0 5, Luckett 1-3 0-0 2, Spence 0-3 0-0 0, Calhoun 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 23-59 10-22 58.

Garden City (10-9, 2-2)--Davis-Jackson 0-0 2-2 2, Morris 6-6 0-0 12, Chisom 3-9 2-2 9, Collins 4-12 10-14 18, Christmas 6-6 1-2 13, Veleta 2-2 0-0 5, Davis 3-50-0 6, Spann 6-9 0-0 12, Inchun 2-2 0-0 6, T Williams 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 32-52 15-20 83.

Halftime-- Garden City 37-33. 3-point goals--Pratt 2-10 (Devlin 1-2, Grant 0-4, Pendry 0-2, Dedrick 1-1, Lucket 0-1), GCCC 4-6 (Chisom 1-2, Collins 0-1, Veleta 1-1, Inchun 2-2). Rebounds--Pratt 22 (Grant, Stein, Calhoun 5), GCCC 38 (Collins, Christmas 8). Assists--Pratt 4 (Pendry 3), GCCC 14 (Morris 4). Technical fouls--none. Fouled out--none. Total fouls--Pratt 15, GCCC 22.

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