Lady Busters' win at Barton earns home playoff game

2/26/2014

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

GREAT BEND — The Garden City Community College Lady Broncbusters were playing their worst basketball of the season in the past two games.

And they were tasked with having to travel to Great Bend for a matchup with Barton on Wednesday night to try to salvage the Busters' once almost ensured first-round home playoff game.

Starters Shauqunna Collins, Sandra Davis and Zantaya Davis played against Barton in foul trouble the entire game as the Busters shot only 18 free throws to the Lady Cougars' 32 in the game. And the Busters were forced to play their first conference overtime game.

Despite all of that, the Busters were able to withstand the Lady Cougars for 45 minutes in a 66-65 overtime win at the Barton Gym in the regular season finale as the Busters finished 16-13 overall, but more importantly 8-6 in the Jayhawk Conference West.

With that 8-6 record, and Seward County's 72-54 defeat of Pratt on Wednesday, the Lady Busters finished as the No. 3 seed in the West, due to the Lady Busters' two wins over Cloud County in the regular season as the Lady T-birds also finished at 8-6.

"I think it's great," head coach Nick Salazar said of the Lady Busters finishing in third place. "I thought we had a really unique opportunity (Wednesday night) because we were picked to finish sixth in the conference. So, we really had a game where, it comes down to one game — you either win and you're third, like we thought we could be, or you lose and you're sixth like we'll call it the world thought you could be."

With that third seed, the Lady Busters will take on the No. 6 seed from the Jayhawk East, which is Labette after its 82-56 loss to Cowley on Wednesday night to finish 4-8 and 16-14 overall. The first round regional game is set for Saturday at the Perryman Athletic Complex. Game time had not been determined as of Wednesday night.

The big win for the Lady Busters was not without a battle from the Lady Cougars as they, too, were battling for a first-round home playoff game, entering Wednesday's game at 6-7 in the West.

The largest lead for the Busters came at 8-0 only three minutes into the game, while the Lady Cougars' largest lead was six with 2:33 to play in the first half. For the rest of the time, the teams exchanged small leads back and forth into the waning minutes, and were tied at 57 at the end of regulation.

The Lady Cougars jumped out to a four-point lead quickly, but the Lady Busters answered back with a 5-0 run on Shauqunna Collins' driving layup, a Jasmine Christmas free throw and a pair of makes from the charity stripe by Collins to take a 62-61 lead with 1:43 left to play in the five-minute overtime.

The Lady Cougars' Phikala Anthony hit 1-of-2 free throws with 47 seconds left to make it 62-62 just before Loysha Morris gave the Busters the lead back on her go-to move — the 5-foot-7 guard drove from the right wing into the lane through two defenders, and took a step-back jumper just inside the free-throw line for two points and a 64-62 lead with 24 seconds to play. Anthony missed a running hook inside the lane for the Cougars and Zantaya Davis hauled in one of her game-high 12 rebounds. The Lady Cougars immediately fouled to send Davis to the line for a pair of free throws.

The 54-percent free-throw shooter sank both charities and gave the Lady Busters a 66-62 lead with nine seconds left. The Lady Cougars' Brandy Winbush drove the other direction and was fouled with only 1.3 seconds left. She went to the free-throw line and made the first.

On the second, she purposely missed, and it worked perfectly as it wound up in Taylor Mayes' possession. Red-hot shooter Mariana Lambert waited wide open on the left wing for the pass and the last-second trey to tie. But instead, Mayes put the ball back up for the two points as the buzzer went off, leaving the Lady Busters with the one-point win.

"We got some calls at the end and we made some free throws at the end," Salazar said. "What a game for Zantaya Davis. I thought she carried us at times."

Davis finished with a double-double with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and the 12 boards, despite playing in foul trouble for most of the game. In fact, it seems the Busters could not get any calls going their way early as Collins, Sandra Davis and Zantaya Davis all picked up two fouls in the first 10 minutes of the game.

"We really weathered the storm," Salazar said of having to sit his three starters for a combined 37 minutes in the first half, leading the Busters to trail 35-32 at the break. "At halftime, I was really thankful to only be down three because we really rolled with three starters on the bench for 10, 12 minutes in the first half."

Sandra Davis fouled out with five minutes still to play, while Collins fouled out in the waning seconds of the overtime period. Zantaya Davis finished with four fouls.

"Knowing that my teammates had my back, and then when I go back out there just playing solid, not trying to foul because I know I'm a big part of trying to help this team win," the 6-2 forward said of having to play in foul trouble.

It was a big bounceback win for the Busters after two straight losses to Pratt and Dodge City, when Salazar's squad was once firmly in third place by two games.

"I didn't want our kids to go out that way," Salazar said. "They don't deserve that. We deserve to be the three seed, and now we've accomplished that."

The Lady Cougars are the sixth seed and will travel to third-seeded Cowley on Saturday.

The other first-round matchups: 1W Hutchinson vs. 8E Allen; 2W Seward County vs. 7E Neosho County; 4W Cloud County vs. 5E Northwest Tech; 7W Dodge City vs. 2E Coffeyville; 8W Colby vs. 1E Butler. The higher seeded teams get the privilege of playing at home.

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GCCC (16-13, 8-6) — Morris 5-12 1-1 12, Chisom 4-12 0-0 9, Collins 3-11 4-4 10, S Davis 1-5 0-0 2, Z Davis 7-12 3-4 12, Carbonell 1-1 0-0 2, Spann 3-5 1-3 7, Inchun 1-4 0-0 3, Christmas 1-6 2-6 4. Totals 26-68 11-18 66.

Barton (18-12, 6-8) — Winbush 3-4 1-2 9, Brantner 1-4 2-2 4, Bruner 1-9 6-11 8, Hedrington 3-10 2-2 12, Mayes 4-11 3-6 11, Lambert 5-12 0-0 10, Phikala Anthony 5-9 3-7 13, Lampe 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 22-59 19-32 65.

Halftime--Barton 35-32. 3-point goals--GCCC 3-14 (Morris 1-2, Chisom 1-3, Collins 0-3, S Davis 0-1, Z Davis 0-1, Spann 0-1, Inchun 1-3), Barton 2-10 (Winbush 2-3, Bruner 0-2, Hedrington 0-2, Lambert 0-3). Rebounds--GCCC 40 (Z Davis 12), Barton 51 (Hedrington 12). Assists--GCCC 13 (Morris 5), Barton 12 (Bruner, Hedrington 3). Turnovers--GCCC 12 (Chisom 3), Barton 16 (Brantner 6). Technical fouls--none. Fouled out--GCCC (S Davis, Collins), Barton (Bruner). Total fouls--GCCC 23, Barton 19.

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