Garden City Community College’s Dashanae Pajeaud sunk a pair of free throws. Then, Jaleah Bellany did the same, and Alyssa Boyce made a lay up, followed by a steal by Drew Myers.
Myers also sunk a 3-pointer and a mid-range jumper as the Broncbusters went on a 11-0 run against visiting Otero, Colo., to end the half, taking control of a game that eventually ended in an 87-56 rout on Friday evening at Conestoga Arena
Even better than the run that put the Busters in the driver’s seat of their home opener, was the fact of who was on the floor for Garden City to spark the run — five freshmen.
“That’s just something we’re trying to instill in this team,” GCCC second-year head coach Charinee Mitchell said. “We have the depth. If you could just figure out how to bring it every night, we’ve got it.”
Mitchell said in the preseason that the Busters had the depth to play nine, 10 players every game. But a lot of coaches boast of depth, until that first regular season tip is thrown, and then the rotations get tighter.
But those freshmen proved that potential in the final three minutes of the first half Friday, taking the Busters from a 37-29 lead to a 48-29 advantage at the break.
“I think it’s great,” sophomore returning starter Talia Roberts said of the stretch, “because we don’t always have to rely on the sophomores … It’s great to have five freshmen, or even more, that have the IQ to take over a game.”
Then again, a little veteran savvy never hurt anyone either, as Roberts had a game-high 20 points, leading the Busters to improve to 2-1 overall this season. And the win was a rebound from Nov. 3’s 96-59 blowout loss to Western Nebraska in Liberal.
“I don’t know what happened that game, but we had to come back strong,” Roberts said.
They did, leading the Rattlers for the final 38 minutes, shooting 42.9 percent from the field and holding Otero (1-3) to just 33.9 percent. The Busters also forced 26 turnovers and had just 11.
“I feel like we at least put 30 minutes together (on defense) tonight,” Mitchell said, “and I can live with that because we’re building. We’re getting better.”
The Busters got 12 points from Boyce, and 11 from sophomore returner Daz Johnson, who also hauled in a team-high eight rebounds., something the Busters struggled with against Western Nebraska.
“We had to work on our defense, and we had to work on boxing out,” Roberts said. “We did way better boxing out … we had to crash more. If we don’t out-run and we don’t box out (opponents), we’re going to struggle probably.”
Friday was a lesson in what happens if they do out-run and box out.