It felt like déjà vu for the Garden City Lady Buffaloes basketball team in Tuesday night's Western Athletic Conference battle with arch-rival Dodge City at The Garden.

Leading by four points early in the fourth quarter, just as they had a year earlier in the first round of the Class 6A sub-state tournament, the Lady Buffs squandered the precarious advantage, watching as the Lady Demons cashed in 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch, good enough for a 44-43 victory.

It was a disappointing ending to a hotly-contested matchup between the WAC schools, and Dodge avenged an early 53-46 win by the Lady Buffs at Dodge City in early January.

And while the Lady Demons were all of sudden making their charities, the Lady Buffs struggled at the line in the fourth quarter, making just 2 of 5 and finishing 5 of 11 for the game.

"It's really tough because it's just the little things that you usually feel you'll be able to do," said GCHS coach David Upton. "Making free throws, getting the layups, or finishing the shots to the basket. We just couldn't do those things you need to do to put a team away."

The winning points came with 10.7 seconds left when Dodge's Tia Bradshaw made both free-throw shots after being fouled on a field goal try as she moved across the lane.

On the Lady Buffs' trip down the floor, with the clock ticking away, sophomore Abbie Dart got free on a drive down the left side of the lane, but her layup attempt was too firm and bounced off the rim. A tied ball with three seconds went to Dodge City and the Lady Demons ran out the clock.

It was Senior Night at The Garden and the Lady Buffs bid farewell to Taryn Tempel, Kristen Padilla, Taylor Linenberger (out with an injury), Jacksenie Tornero, Kennedy Brunson and Tionni McKee.

The loss also was the third consecutive for the Lady Buffs, who are now 10-8 overall and 3-3 in the WAC.

"We've got to regroup and we've got two games left and need to take care of business," said Upton, whose team will finish with WAC road games on Friday at Hays and Tuesday at Liberal. "If we do that, we'll still get a good seed in sub-state."

The free-throw struggles were another Achilles' heel for the Lady Buffs, as even Tornero, the team's best foul shooter at more than 70 percent, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 17 seconds and the Lady Buffs up by one, 43-42.

Leading by four at halftime, the Lady Buffs maintained that edge throughout the third quarter and went to the final eight minutes with a 33-29 lead over former Holcomb coach Kelley Snodgrass and the Lady Demons.

"Kelley does a good job with her team, and they're a much improved team over the one we played last year, and even earlier this season," said Upton. "I'm just discouraged by the way we handled things in the fourth. We've got to find ways to put teams away when we have the chance."

After getting off to a sluggish start, the Lady Buffs used its full-court press to induce numerous turnovers by Dodge City, outscoring the Lady Demons 16-8 to then own a 23-19 halftime lead.

Katrina Roenfeldt had provided Dodge City with five points in the first quarter to help the Lady Demons take an 11-7 advantage after the opening period.

Garden's defense, which had been blitzed by 3-point shooting onslaughts on Friday by Great Bend and on Saturday at Holcomb, did a good job on the Lady Demons' 3-point shooters, limiting them to just two in the first 16 minutes.

Sophomore Abbie Dart came off the bench in the second quarter to spark the rally, scoring six points on several nifty passes from Jaymie Bernbeck.

Garden City was led by Tempel's 14 points, going 6 of 9 from the field. Bernbeck added 10 for the Lady Buffs. Dodge City got 13 points from Roenfeldt.

Dodge City improved to 9-8 overall and 3-2 in the WAC and is at Great Bend on Friday.


Dodge City 11 8 10 15 -- 44

Garden City 7 16 10 10 -- 43

Dodge City (9-8, 3-2) B. Bradshaw 2-10 5-9 9, Durler 0-1 0-0 0, Sain 1-4 0-0 3, Harshberger 0-1 4-5 4, Roenfeldt 5-11 2-4 13, T. Bradshaw 1-7 3-4 5, Shelor 3-4 0-1 6, Nichols 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 14-42 14-23 44.

Garden City (10-8, 3-3) Padilla 0-1 0-0 0, Dart 3-7 2-3 8, Tornero 0-4 0-1 0, Brunson 0-2 0-0 0, Tempel 6-9 2-5 14, McKee 0-2 1-2 1, Dreiling 2-4 0-0 4, Bernbeck 5-8 0-0 10, Carrillo 3-4 0-0 6, Elliott 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-41 5-11 43.

3-point goals--Dodge City 2-5 (B. Bradshaw 0-1, Sain 1-2, Roenfeldt 1-2), Garden City 0-6 (Dart 0-1, Tornero 0-2, Brunson 0-2, Tempel 0-1). Rebounds--Dodge City 33 (B. Bradshaw 8), Garden City 29 (Carrillo 7). Turnovers--Dodge City 16, Garden City 17. Technical fouls--none. Fouls--Dodge City 15, Garden City 18. Fouled out--Dodge City (Harshberger).