The performance will not be good enough to beat Hutchinson. It likely would not be good enough to even beat several other mid-tier Jayhawk Conference teams.
But the Garden City Community College women’s basketball team’s play on Thursday evening was good enough to beat Northwest Kansas Tech, 63-52, and advance in the Region VI tournament, now with second-seed Hutchinson on deck in the quarterfinals.
And that was the first thing GCCC head coach Charinee Mitchell told her Busters after the victory.
“We’re going to get embarrassed (by Hutchinson) with that kind of effort,” Mitchell said.
The Blue Dragons routed Pratt 82-22 Thursday night.
“We’re just in a little slump right now,” Mitchell said of the Busters, who’ve had sub-par performances in each of their last three games, despite going 2-1 in the stretch. “We’re just sluggish. There’s nothing new being thrown at us, but we’re just slow to react to it.”
The Broncbusters (20-11) struggled with Tech’s sagging 3-2 zone that begged the Busters to shoot it from the outside, but Garden City managed just 3 of 20 from 3-point range — perhaps the team’s greatest offensive weakness.
And with outside shots refusing to fall, and transition points only coming intermittently, the Busters had to rely on their inside scoring. But that stalled in stretches, as well. So even though the Buster defense locked down the Mavericks — holding them to a measly 0.67 points per possession and leading scorer Tran Brown to just four points on 1-of-10 shooting, — they never were capable of putting enough points on the board to put away the game early.
“Turnovers,” freshman guard Abi Green said. “We had too many turnovers. We set ourselves up for this. Even though we won, it wasn’t pretty.”
The Busters scored just seven points in the entire second quarter — after 18 in the opening period — but still had a 25-20 lead entering the third quarter. Jada Washington sunk the Busters’ second 3-pointer of the game out of the halftime gate, and Garden City went on a 10-4 run to push its lead back up to double digits, 35-24.
The Busters even pushed the advantage to 13 four different times, but the Mavericks kept hitting just enough jump shots to deny the Busters a game-sealing run.
The Busters’ lead remained between eight and 13 points until the Mavericks briefly cut it to six with four minutes to play. But Jessica Carrillo’s short jumper got the lead back to eight, and the Busters held on from there.
“The posts stopped finishing around the rim,” Mitchell said of the offensive struggles. “We blew a lot of opportunities to score inside.”
Early, Garden City did not give in to Tech’s 3-2 zone, which was trying to force the Busters into outside shots. The Busters passed up several open 3-point attempts and forced the ball inside, where their posts did damage. Six points of a Busters’ 8-1 run to end the first quarter came on low post moves, with two buckets coming from Carrillo and another from Daz Johnson — who had six points and 10 rebounds — for an 18-9 lead at the first break.
But the second quarter was a different story, as the Busters took seven 3-point shots and hit just one of them — DJ Graves had the only make, and it pushed the Buster lead to 21-11. The Busters went cold from there, and the Mavericks began to cut into the deficit, despite missing Brown for a stretch after she limped off the court.
Destiny Lindsey scored a layup, and N’Mandria Reynolds drilled a 3-pointer on the next possession, followed by another Lindsey layup, leading to a quick 7-0 run in just over a minute of game time.
Johnson’s layup midway through the quarter broke a four-minute scoring drought for the Busters. And the final five minutes of the quarter saw just one field goal from each team, as the Busters led 25-20 at intermission.
Washington led the Busters with 15 points, while Lindsey had 14 for Tech, which ends its season at 20-11.
The Busters and Blue Dragons — 82-22 winners over Pratt — will meet Monday in the region quarterfinals at Hartman Arena in Park City. Tipoff will be at 3 p.m.