The Garden City Community College women's basketball team opened their season over the weekend, playing in the Pizza Hut Classic at Seward County in Liberal. The Broncbusters went 1-1 in the tournament.
A cold shooting first quarter doomed Garden City for the rest of the afternoon.
Alexys Grice and Amaya Johns combined for 47 points and six made three's, the Broncbusters were limited to just 34 percent shooting, and Frank Phillips sprinted past Garden City, 79-64, in the opening day of the Pizza Hut Classic at the Green House.
"We just couldn't hit a shot to start the game," GCCC first-year Head Coach Omega Tandy said. "Once that happened, we just never found any rhythm."
Garden City led briefly in the opening minutes when Dasja Ross connected on a 15 footer to put the Broncbusters up 4-3. But that's the only time they were in front the entire game.
Garden City went scoreless for more than six minutes. In the meantime, the Plainsmen carved out a six-point lead once Sydney McColl found her way to the basket. Ariyanna Hall drained a triple from the right wing to end the drought for the Broncbusters, but Frank Phillips answered with a 10-0 run, and when Grice hit two free throws with 14 seconds to go, Garden City was staring up at a 13-point deficit. They were down 10 at the end of one.
"Things may have been different if we could have hit a shot in that first quarter," Tandy said. "But we didn't."
Garden City misfired on their first five shots to begin the second; then watched the Plainsmen equal their largest deficit of the half when Grice knocked down a midrange jumper to make it 32-19 with 3:44 to play. But give Tandy's girls a lot of credit. They held Frank Phillips without a point the rest of the half, and sliced the deficit to seven at the break after Corina Suarez-Tudela hit a 3, and Jaleah Bellany splashed home two freebies to make it 32-25.
The Broncbusters continued that run early in the second half, pulling to within three on Bellany's triple from the top of the key. But Garden City failed to get back in transition, and Hannah Grange made them pay with a corner 3. It was all part of a 23-10 run for Frank Phillips to close the period.
Frank Phillips shot 46 percent for the game and was 10-of-23 from downtown. They outrebounded Garden City 44-25.
"That's something we really have to work on is rebounding the ball," Tandy explained.
Bellany paced the Broncbusters with 23 points, but missed 11 of her 17 shots. She was 5-of-15 from 3. Suarez-Tudela and Deborah Ford each tallied nine.
Frank Phillips 22 10 30 17 - 79
Garden City 12 13 21 18 - 64
When Tandy was first hired, her message was clear: this is a process. Well on Saturday, that process took the first step in the right direction.
Dasja Ross scored 15 points and pulled down five boards off the bench, Alyssa Boyce added 13, and Garden City earned their first win of the Tandy era with a 74-40 rout of Bethany Junior Varsity.
Garden City shook off some early shooting struggles with a 15-0 run, turning an early three-point deficit into a 20-8 advantage once Hidaya Thornton knocked down a midrange jumper with 9:56 to play in the second. Boyce added back-to-back buckets, Corina Suarez-Tudela hit her fourth 3 of the young season, Tyla Happer connected on a triple, and Garden City had a 38-19 lead at halftime.
The Broncbusters kept the pressure on in the second half.
Deborah Ford splashed home a 14-footer, igniting a 12-0 surge that stretched Garden City's lead to 31, 56-25 with 1:17 to go in the third. In the fourth, seven straight points, punctuated with Suarez-Tudela's bucket, put the Broncbusters up by 33. Jaleah Bellany then nailed a 3, Happer hit a layup, and Donetria McGee put home a 10-footer to give the road squad their largest advantage of the game, 71-33 with 3:10 remaining.
Garden City finished the game 9-of-38 from 3 (24 percent) and 30-of-78 from the field (39 percent). They forced 27 turnovers, their second straight game with 25 or more. Their bench outscored Bethany's 47-8.
Bethany JV 8 11 10 11 - 40
Garden City 17 21 18 18 - 74
The Broncbusters will have their home opener at 6 p.m. on Friday against Trinidad, Colo., at Perryman Athlertic Complex.