Garden City loses on last second basket
Antwain Scales' face said it all.
With his arms crossed and the death stare in full form, the veteran coach could only watch as Paige Scott canned her only field goal of the game - a right-corner triple with two seconds remaining to give Coffeyville a dramatic 50-48 victory Wednesday night at Conestoga Arena.
"Give credit to Coffeyville," Scales said afterwards. "But we didn't value possessions the way that we should have."
In all honestly, the game should never have been close in the second half. Elisabeth Matas-Martin, who coming into Wednesday's game hadn't hit a shot from the field, nailed a 3-pointer, Justis Odom completed a three-point play, Donetria McGee got free to the rim, and Garden City was up 36-28 on the backing of a 10-2 run with 3:06 left in the third.
"I always tell our players that if you let off for just one second, that could cost you the game," Scales explained. "Today was a perfect example.
The Broncbusters kept pushing, and when Odom hit a five-foot flip in the paint, Garden City was ahead 40-30 late in the period. They took an eight-point cushion into the fourth.
But that's when things went south. The brown and gold were held without a field goal for nearly four minutes. Meantime Coffeyville seized the momentum, scoring seven straight points capped off by Devin Wright's layup that brought the visitors to within three, 42-39 with 6:42 left. Eventually, Faith Simpson, who crushed Garden City for 37 points and 12 rebounds in the Region VI Tournament last Feb., found her rhythm after sitting most of the first half in foul trouble. The All-American volleyball player canned a 15-footer, Tynica Gilmore hit three free throws, and the Red Ravens had a two-point edge with less than two minutes to go.
"A lot of what happened in this game we did to ourselves," Scales said.
Needing some type of answer, the Broncbusters' head man pushed the offense in the direction of Jill Stephens, and the freshman delivered, hitting a rainbow 3 from the left corner to put Garden City back up by one, 48-47 with 1:28 remaining.
"We just got complacent at the wrong time," Scales stated. "We let this one get away."
It appeared the game was in the bag once Coffeyville Head Coach, Tony Turner was forced to call a timeout with his offense coming to a screeching halt with six seconds remaining. But following the stoppage in play, the author of Coffeyville's 25-win campaign in 2019-20 drew up the perfect play, using a flare screen to free Scott in the corner for the go-ahead triple.
"When you miss free throws and turn the ball over, that is the end result," Scales said.
The Broncbusters still had one more chance and got a great look for a game-winning 3. But Aerihna Afoa's 25-footer from the left side wasn't close, giving Coffeyville their third win of the year.
Simpson, who for the most part was held in check, scored 11 points in 21 minutes for the Red Ravens, who avenged their only loss of the season after blowing a 21-point lead vs. Hutchinson last week. Amiya Josey chipped in nine.
Odom tallied 13 points and seven boards for Garden City, who missed a chance at their first 3-0 start since 2015. Matas-Martin chipped in 11, and Afoa scored seven off the bench.
Coffeyville 10; 13; 9; 18; - 50
Garden City 6; 18; 16; 8; - 48
Garden City hosts Neosho County at 2 p.m on Saturday.