After nearly a foot of snow postponed the game by a day, the Garden City Community College Broncbusters women’s basketball hosted the Barton Cougars Sunday afternoon at Conestoga Arena on Sophomore night.
Unfortunately for the Busters two 20-point performances — 23 from sophomore Talia Roberts, who lead all scorers, and 22 from freshman Jaleah Bellany — were not enough as their three-game winning streak was snapped in a 70-63 loss to the visiting Cougars.
Barton (21-9, 14-7) was unphased by the long, snowy trip, ending the regular season on a high night.
The two loses to Barton bookended a February that saw Garden city go 3-5, also losing the first time around in Great Bend, 83-74.
“I thought we fought hard, but we made a lot of mental mistakes,” GCHS head coach Charinee Mitchell said. “Things like talking, small things like that. We really didn't talk well defensively, just allowing too many second chance opportunities early on bit us in the butt down the stretch. But for the most part we played for 40 minutes.”
The Busters drop to 14-16 and 9-12 in the KJCCC West, and enter the Region VI tournament as the 11th seed. They will hit the road for a 6 p.m. tilt at Independence Wednesday in the first round.
Barton will host Neosho County.
The Busters’ series with Barton as of late has been going back and forth, as the Cougars swept the season series in 2017, Garden City then returned the favor in in 2018, and Barton County got a leg up in 2019, sweeping the season series.
Garden City started the game strong as Roberts connected for the first points of the game, with a three-pointer from the right wing to give Garden the early 3-0 lead. That was it for a while for the Busters, as they went on a 6:03 scoreless drought, and the Cougars went on a 9-0 run in the first quarter.
The 9-0 Barton County run was then ended by Roberts’ second three-pointer of the quarter, sparking an 8-0 run of the Busters’ own, ending the first quarter, with the lead, 11-9.
The Cougars turned around that two-point first quarter deficit to take the lead in the second quarter. Barton’s Madison Dirks from Montezuma hit a three-pointer with 1:39 left in the half for her first points to give the Cougars a five-point lead, before a Daz Johnson layup cut the lead back to three points.
Barton hit another three-pointer with 20 seconds left, to take a six point lead into the halftime break — the largest of the game at that point.
“Barton is a good team. They have weapons,” Mitchell said. “They have four or five weapons that can shoot the ball really well. We made a push, then they would make a push, so they weren't backing down.”
Garden City rallied in the second half and a Bellany three-pointer tied the game up at 53 with 6:24 left in the game. But just like they had done all game, the Cougars answered Garden City’s run with a 7-0 run of their own, and eventually closed out the game on a 17-10 run to earn the win, 70-63.
Roberts finished the game 9 of 23 from the field, 4 of 9 from behind the arc and five assists to lead all scorers. Bellany was 8 of 23 from the field and 6 of 16 from three-point range.
“I think the biggest thing is we have to have to give a better defensive effort if we want to succeed in the playoffs and go to the regional tournament (in Park City),” Mitchell said. “It's just a matter of mentally, if the kids want it.
“I think that's the biggest thing. Late in the season, there is nothing in practice, or say anything as a coach, to get a win. It's all about every single player on this roster if they have their mind made up to get a win and go to the regional tournament.”