HUTCHINSON — Josie Calzonetti knocked down a mid-range jumper to tie the game for Garden City High School with under two minutes left on the Hutchinson Salthawks home floor.
Salthawks coach Casey Stiggins burned a timeout as both teams traded baskets for three straight possessions in the back and forth contest to shrug off a sluggish start.
After the timeout, Salthawks sophomore Gabbie Posch knocked down the biggest basket of the season for Hutchinson for the go-ahead points with 1:27 left in regulation.
The deep 3 was the fifth of the game for Posch as she led Hutchinson with 23 points to out-duel Calzonetti in a 46-43 victory to advance in the girls Class 6A sub-state Tuesday night at the Salthawk Activity Center.
“She made some huge shots tonight,” Stiggins said. “Every time Garden had a run, she would come right back with an answer. She is becoming more aggressive. We always knew she could shoot the basketball. Right now, I think she has a lot of confidence. She hit some big ones tonight.”
Kasey Hazell had a strong night inside with 13 points for the Salthawks. Calzonetti led Garden City with 17 points. Freshman Keyhana Turner chipped in with 12 for the Buffaloes, including a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter.
Hutchinson took a 19-11 lead before the half, its largest of the game. Calzonetti hit back-to-back 3s to cut the deficit to two heading into the break.
Annie Gerber drilled a trey for Garden City to give the Buffaloes a 35-34 lead in the third quarter, their first lead since being in front 4-0 to start the game. After the 3-pointer by Posch, the Buffaloes had to foul to stop the clock. Calzonetti was able to grab the rebound off a Posch miss on the 1-and-1.
There was contact that caused Calzonetti to lose her balance after the rebound. She tried to tightrope the baseline, but stepped out of bounds. Garden City coach Matt Pfeifer and Calzonetti argued for the foul call, but it was to no avail.
Posch was fouled again and hit both free throws to go up by three with nine seconds to play. Garden City got one more look at the basket, but Calzonetti’s shot sailed long.
“It was a really well-played basketball game, relatively speaking,” Pfeifer said. “I was proud of the kids with how they responded to some adversity. We got down eight a couple of times and we did a good job of battling back and tying it up. I thought we executed here and there, but a few plays got away from us.”
Still, Pfeifer was pleased with how his team competed.
“We kept battling and fighting and I’m proud of how they played,” said the second-year GCHS coach.
Both teams struggled to find scoring in the opening quarter during the first five minutes. Hutchinson didn’t connect on its first field goal until 3:17 to play in the first. Annie Gerber scored in the first minute of the game, but Garden didn’t score until 3:44 remaining to take a 4-0 lead.
Hutchinson improves to 12-8 and will hit the road Friday to face powerhouse Manhattan (19-2). Garden’s season ends at 6-15.