For just the fifth time in program history, the Garden City Broncbusters women’s basketball team beat the Hutchinson Blue Dragons in the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
On Wednesday, the Busters held the Dragons to 14 first-half points and held on for a 56-48 win over the NJCAA’s 14th-ranked team. The win was the first for the Busters vs. Hutch since Feb. 6, 2013, snapping a skid of 10 straight losses to Hutchinson, and the first at the Arena since 2004, according to Hutchinson Sports Information Director Steve Carpenter. The Busters are now 5-37 all-time at Hutchinson.
“The biggest thing is my kids were hungry tonight,” GCCC head coach Charinee Mitchell said, as her Busters improved to 15-9 overall and 12-8 and handed Hutch (20-4, 16-4) just its fourth loss of the season. “Everybody is tired at this point (in the season), but who wants to be great? Who wants to push past being tired? And my kids really dug into that and showed their true colors tonight. I’m so proud of them.”
It was the Busters’ fourth straight win and fourth straight game they held their opponents to less than 50 points.
For awhile, Hutchinson was in danger of even breaking 40, after trailing the Busters 23-14 at the break. The Busters held them to just two points in the first period.
“Defense, defense, defense, defense,” Mitchell said. “We just made them uncomfortable, denying the ball inside — some five-second violations. And we just kind of stuck to it and played some good defense all game.”
The Busters led for all but just a minute-and-a-half, and Hutchinson never had a lead. And when they got close, the Busters had an answer, including a Jada Washington 3-pointer with 1:52 to play that put Garden City up 48-42.
“She’s growing into a pretty good point guard,” Mitchell said of Washington, who had a game-high 24 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Washington also got to the free-throw line 17 times, making 11.
“After halftime, the game plan was to attack off of ball screens, so we can either get a layup or get to the line, and she did a good job with it,” Mitchell said. “And then Hutch stopped playing her right, and she had to shoot the jumper, and she made them. She stepped up for us tonight.”
Meanwhile, Hutchinson’s offense was grinding its gears most of the night, scoring its second-fewest points of the season. The Dragons hit just 41.3 percent of their shots (19 of 46), and were an unsightly 4 of 17 from the free-throw line.
Dighton product and former Telegram Player of the Year Sara Cramer led the Dragons with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
The win sets up a pivotal matchup with Cloud County at home on Saturday, with both teams entering the game with an identical 12-8 conference record, tied for sixth in the KJCCC. Tip is set for 2 p.m. at the Conestoga Arena.
Note: The Busters now have a two-game cushion between them and the two teams tied for eighth at 10-10 — Barton and Coffeyville. Hutch dropped into a three-way tie for second behind Seward County (18-2).