Lady Dragons sizzle, singe Lady Busters, 77-43

1/16/2014

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

HUTCHINSON — It took a 16-10 late run during Wednesday's conference matchup against Hutchinson's bench for the Garden City Community College Lady Broncbusters to avoid their worst loss to the Lady Dragons in two decades.

Instead, the Lady Busters fell 77-43 at the Hutchinson Sports Arena, their worst loss to Hutchinson since 2008 (65-27 on Jan. 26, 2008, in Hutch), dropping their season record to 8-9 and 0-2 in conference.

The Busters fell behind quickly as the Dragons scored the first eight points of the game and 12 of the first 14 to quickly gain a double-digit lead as it seemed the Busters lacked energy from the very beginning. The intimidation of playing the third-ranked Dragons on their home floor may have been part of that, as well.

"I don't like to think so, but obviously something was up because we just clearly weren't ready to play from the tip," head coach Nick Salazar said after the game.

The Dragons (16-0, 2-0) continued to grind away, stretching the lead to 28-8 in a four-minute stretch where they went on a 10-0 run, capitalizing on three Buster turnovers.

The Busters were also never able to find an answer to the Dragons' post play, as forwards Kalani Purcell and Briana Starks combined for 24 points in the first half alone. Purcell had 16, the same number she finished the game with, a team-high. Starks finished with 10 points and seven boards.

But the balanced Dragons also had three others in double figures — Shakira Harding (11), Jamie Patrick (10) and Jen'von'Ta Hill (10).

Meanwhile, the Dragons were persistent in their defense of Garden's star point guard Shauqunna Collins, consciously guarding her right-hand dribble to take away the 5-foot-5 guard's best weapon.

The Busters finally began to mount a fight halfway through the first when they started to pressure the full court, and Collins drained a pair of 3-pointers to try to combat the strategic defense.

A quick run by the Busters cut a once 24-point deficit to 37-18, causing Hutchinson coach John Ontjes to call a timeout to re-settle his team. That was the only time Garden City seemed to rattle the Dragons, though, as they regrouped and fought off the press to quickly pull back ahead to 42-21 at half.

The final 20 minutes were more of the same as the Dragons stretched their lead to as much as 40 points.

"All five (Hutchinson) players can score," Salazar said. "We had plans to stop them, but if you're not playing at the highest level possible, it's not going to matter what we do."

The Busters will try to get a conference game in the win column at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, when they take on Colby (2-16, 0-2) at the Perryman Athletic Complex. The Lady Busters had opened Jayhawk Conference West play on Saturday with a loss to Seward County. Colby's Lady Trojans have had their share of struggles, too, this season, and come into the game with a 2-16 overall record and 0-2 in the West. They lost to Seward County on Wednesday, 84-36.

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Garden City (8-9, 0-2) -- Morris 0-3 1-5 1, Chisom 0-5 0-0 0, Collins 8-21 3-6 21, Davis 1-6 2-2 4, Davis-Jackson 1-6 1-2 3, S. Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Carbonell 0-1 0-0 0, Spann 1-5 4-7 6, Inchun 1-4 2-2 5, Christmas 0-1 1-2 3, T. Williams 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 13-56 14-26 43.

Hutchinson (16-0, 2-0) -- Harding 4-7 0-0 11, Patrick 4-5 0-0 10, Starks 3-10 4-5 10, Hill 5-14 0-1 10, Jones 4-5 1-2 9, Block 0-3 0-0 0, Bloom 1-1 0-0 3, Dewey 2-2 0-0 4, Daughhetee 2-2 0-3 4, Purcell 7-10 1-1 16. Totals 32-59 6-12 77.

Halftime--Hutchinson 42-21. 3-point goals--Garden City 3-10 (Chisom 0-1, Collins 2-5, Savis 0-1, Inchun 1-3), Hutchinson 7-12 (Block 0-2, Harding 3-5, Bloom 1-1, Patrick 2-2, Hill 0-1, Purcell 1-1). Rebounds-- Garden City 36 (Davis 7), Hutchinson 43 (Purcell 9). Assists-- Garden City 4 (Morris 2), Hutchinson 21 (Patrick 5). Technical fouls--none. Fouled out--Hutch (Purcell, Jones). Total fouls--Garden City 13, Hutchinson 21.

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