WICHITA — The Garden City Broncbusters women’s basketball team has been a sub-par outside shooting team all season. The Busters knew it was something they would have to overcome on a game-by-game basis.
And they did that enough to reach Monday’s Region VI quarterfinals with 20 wins under their belt. But not even these defensive-minded and seventh-seeded Busters could overcome a 27.3-percent shooting effort, or 1 of 17 from 3-point range, as they fell to No. 2 Hutchinson, 55-36 on Monday afternoon at Hartman Arena in Park City.
“I feel like in the second half, we just couldn’t make a shot,” first-year GCCC coach Charinee Mitchell said. “We played decent defense for a while — maybe for three minutes, nobody really scored. We just couldn’t get the ball in the hole.”
Sure enough, the Busters were 5 of 10 in the first quarter, but didn’t hit better than 30 percent in any of the other three quarters, including a 7-for-32 (21.8 percent) effort in the second half. The loss ends the Busters’ season at 20-12, while the Blue Dragons advance to play Independence at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the region semifinals.
Jada Washington scored five of the first seven points for the Busters, who trailed by two after one quarter of play and four at halftime. Garden City gave up two buzzer beaters at the end of both quarters.
After a jumper by Abi Green, HCC freshman guard Coretta Hopkins raced down into the paint to draw in the defense and kicked the ball out to Barber for a 3 to end the first.
Blue Dragons’ Vivian Chigbu was able to come away with a steal at the end of the first half, and she went coast to coast to lay it in at the buzzer, making it 25-21. From late in the second quarter to early third, the Blue Dragons went on a 9-0 run to take a 30-21 advantage. From there, the Dragons just kept extending their lead.
“Those plays always give your team momentum when you can make shots at the end of quarters,” Hutchinson women’s coach John Ontjes said. “I think it gave our ball club some confidence. It was obviously a low-scoring ball game tonight.”
Tia Bradshaw had a difficult time staying in front of speedy guard Washington. On a drive by the sophomore guard out of Arlington, Texas, she used a jab step to freeze Bradshaw, then sped past her for the easy lay in. Ontjes shouted “angle her out” from the sideline.
Washington scored nine first-half points and led Garden City with 14. She went 5 of 15 from the field and 1 of 7 from downtown.
Despite Washington’s effort, however, the Dragons inched away throughout the game, taking a 38-29 lead into the fourth quarter, and never got closer than that the rest of the way.
Alicia Brown scored 10 points and dished a game-high four assists for Hutchinson, while DeJanae Roebuck added an 11 point and 10 rebound double-double. Kayla Barber added 10 points off the bench.
The Hutchinson News’ Kelton Brooks reported from Wichita.