The first time the Garden City Community College women’s basketball team took on Seward County, the Broncbusters were shell-shocked, said GCCC head coach Charinee Mitchell after the 69-53 loss on Jan. 13.
The Saints were a different caliber of team than they had faced previously. Sure enough, the No. 10th-ranked Saints are KJCCC champions.
And despite a recent streak of the Busters’ best basketball, the Saints were overpowering once again, unleashing a deadly offensive attack in a 75-53 rout on Monday evening at the Conestoga Arena.
“You’re playing the No. 10 team in the nation,” Mitchell said Monday. “We played hard. We hustled. The defense was there. Seward is just a very good basketball team.”
The game was the regular season finale, as the Busters finish 19-11 overall and 16-10 in the KJCCC. The official seedings for the Region VI tournament are expected to be released Tuesday morning, but as of press time Monday, the Busters are expected to host automatic 10th seed Northwest Kansas Tech for the first round of the region tournament at 6 p.m. Monday, the opener of a doubleheader with the Buster men, who also host a first-round game.
Seward County caps its KJCCC championship season at 27-3 and 23-3.
And they showed why they won the conference, as the Saints’ offense was prolific, hitting 53.1 percent of its shots (26 of 49) and 10-of-19 3-pointers, scoring 1.12 points per possession en route to the most points the Busters have given up in a game since Jan. 17 (76-63 loss to Butler) — and Seward County played its reserves for nearly the entire fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the Buster offense sputtered, suffering a 10-minute stretch that spanned the first and second quarters where they managed just a free throw and a mid-range jumper.
“Seward makes you pay when you don’t make shots,” Mitchell said.
The Saints out-scored the Busters 49-19 between the second and third quarters, pushing the lead well out of reach going into the fourth quarter.
But the Saints began their move with a 3-point barrage in the first half, led by what is believed to be the most prolific 3-point shooter in conference history, Mollie Mounsey. The Saints’ sophomore guard hit four in the first half, including a buzzer-beater that pushed the halftime lead to 45-25.
Mounsey finished with a game-high 20 points on just nine shots, going 7 of 9 from the field.
The Busters’ DJ Graves tried to keep pace, hitting a 3 with two minutes to play in the first quarter the cut the deficit to 18-15. But from there, the Busters hit just one field goal over the next 10 minutes, as the Saints went on a 18-3 run to lead 36-18 with two minutes to play in the half, hitting eight 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes.
“Hands were there, they were just knocking them down,” GCCC’s Jada Washington said of the Saints’ hot shooting.
Shakendra Tilley led the Busters with 11 points, but on 5-of-14 shooting. Abi Green had 10 points on 5 of 11.
The Busters now await the Mavericks of Northwest Tech, which finished 20-10 as an independent Region VI school. Seward County, by virtue of winning the conference, will get a bye in the first round of the region tournament, and will advance to the quarterfinal, which will be March 5 at Hartman Arena in Park City.