Lady Busters fizzle against Lady Conqs

2/23/2014

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

There is no way to explain it.

At least, there was no way Garden City Community College Lady Broncbusters' head coach Nick Salazar could spell out how his squad dropped its second-straight game on Saturday, falling 69-61 to the Dodge City Lady Conquistadors at the Perryman Athletic Complex.

After beating then ninth-ranked Seward County on Feb. 12 in Liberal, the Busters held off Cloud County on Feb. 15. But then they were blown out at Pratt on Wednesday and followed that with the loss to Dodge City, only the third conference win of the season for the Conqs, and the first against a team other than Colby, which is winless in the Jayhawk West.

"We're lacking something," Salazar said after the game. "I think that Seward must have been our region championship, because we just decided we were not going to play after that."

The Lady Busters (15-13, 7-6) entered Saturday with a one-game lead over Pratt, Barton and Cloud County — all 6-6 in the KJCCC — but left the day in a three-way tie for third at 7-6 as Pratt beat Colby, 61-52, Cloud beat Seward County, 79-71, and Barton lost at Hutchinson, 69-58.

Despite the loss, Seward County locked up the No. 2 seed in the West behind undefeated Hutchinson. And even though Dodge City won, the Lady Conqs are solidly the seventh seed, just in front of Colby. But from third place to sixth, any of the four teams could finish in any of those spots left undecided, including the Lady Busters, who looked to be in prime position for the third seed (or even better) just a week ago.

The Lady Busters head to Barton on Wednesday, while Pratt plays at Seward County, and Cloud County is at Colby.

In the loss on Saturday, it was the Lady Conqs that looked like the top-three team, especially early. The Conqs began red hot from beyond the arc, hitting four of their first five as they led the Busters for the entire first half after trailing 5-3 early. Of the Lady Conqs' first 18 points, 15 came off of 3-pointers, while the other three came on an old-fashioned 3-point play from Kesha Buckner, who was fouled on a driving layup from the right baseline and hit the ensuing free throw to give the Lady Conqs a 12-9 lead.

"You expect them to make 3s," Salazar said. "You hope that (Kelli) Tolar doesn't make them because we kind of game-plan around that. Everything they did was right. Everything we did was wrong for the second game in a row."

The Busters tied it at 38 six minutes into the second period on Tori Spann's layup on an assist from Loysha Morris. But the Lady Conqs took back the advantage on yet another 3-point play on Ronesha Hall's putback and-1. Then, Katren Cramer hit a trey from the right wing on the next possession and the Conqs were back up by six.

The Busters cut it back to one in the middle of the second, but Kesha Buckner's bucket and bonus free throw with 10:19 to play seemed to be the final counter for the Conqs. Dodge City pulled away from there and led by as much as 14 en route to the win.

"It's a frustrating place to be in because we run stuff, we get opportunities to score, execution breaks down, we turn the ball over, not make shots," Salazar said. "Actually, more than anything, it's demoralizing when you don't get stops, and Wednesday night we couldn't get a stop to save our lives. (Saturday night), we couldn't get a big stop when we needed a big stop, we couldn't convert."

Collins had a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double, while Chisom chipped in 15 points and Jasmine Christmas had 10. All three, along with fellow sophomores Sandra Davis and Zantaya Davis were honored at halftime of the men's game for sophomore night.

Meanwhile, Kelli Tolar led the Conqs with 12 points on 3-of-7 shooting. Buckner chipped in 11 and Azaria Nave had 10.

The Lady Busters held a slight rebounding advantage, 40-39, after dominating that category, 67-38, in Dodge City on Jan. 29, an 83-60 Busters' win.

The free-throw line was another area of struggle for the Busters on Saturday, hitting just 10 of 23.

When asked how to stop the Lady Busters' skid heading into Wednesday's 6 p.m. matchup at Barton, Salazar said, "I have no idea."

------

Dodge City (16-13, 3-10)--Cramer 2-5 0-0 6, Whipple 3-5 1-1 7, Buckner 3-11 4-9 11, Esparza-Raglin 2-5 1-3 5, Nave 3-6 2-4 10, Whitaker 2-7 3-6 7, Patterson 2-2 0-0 6, Tolar 3-7 4-4 12, Hall 2-5 1-1 5, Williams 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-54 16-28 69.

Garden City (15-13, 7-6)--S Davis 1-9 1-2 3, Z Davis 0-3 1-2 1, Morris 3-8 2-4 8, Chisom 7-11 0-2 15, Collins 6-15 4-8 16, S Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Carbonell 0-1 0-0 0, Spann 1-3 0-0 2, Inchun 2-6 0-0 6, Christmas 4-8 2-5 10. Totals 24-66 10-23 61.

Halftime--Dodge City 32-29. 3-point goals--DCCC 9-16 (Cramer 2-4, Buckner 1-2, Nave 2-3, Whitaker 0-1, Patterson 2-2, Tolar 2-4), GCCC 3-13 (S Davis 0-2, Morris 0-2, Chisom 1-2, Collins 0-2, Inchun 2-5). Rebounds--DCCC 39 (Buckner 9), GCCC 40 (Collins 10). Assists--DCCC 10 (Buckner 5), GCCC 8 (Morris 3). Turnovers--DCCC 16 (Tolar 3), GCCC 11 (Spann 4). Technical fouls--none. Fouled out--DCCC (none), GCCC (Collins). Total fouls--DCCC 16, GCCC 25.

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