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GCCC uses strong second half to down Neosho

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Kealani Neves, left, gets a hand on the ball and forces a turnover as she and teammate Donetria McGee apply defensive pressure to Neosho County's Lauren Jones in the backcourt Saturday at Perryman Athletic Complex.

Antwain Scales' main message to his Garden City Community College team this season: one second can cost you dearly. And they saw that unfold right in front of their eyes in Wednesday's loss to Coffeyville. 72 hours later, there was no way they were making that same mistake.

Justis Odom scored a season-high 16 points, Kealani Neves tallied 15, four assists, and two steals, and Garden City blew past Neosho 81-63 Saturday afternoon at Conestoga Arena.

"Overall, I think we did a good job today," Scales said afterwards. "Neosho's a dangerous team because they can hit you with a 3-pointer at any time."

Despite leading by as many as 23, it took the Broncbusters a bit to get their motor warm. They surrendered four triples in the first 11 minutes including Tanay Williams' long ball that put the Panthers up 24-23 with 9:43 left in the first half. That's when Scales called a timeout.

"We are giving them way too many looks," he told his team in the huddle.

After giving up four 3's in 11 minutes, the brown and gold locked in defensively, yielding just five over the final 29. They also got the offense revved up thanks to Jill Stephens, who canned back-to-back treys, Elisabeth Matas-Martin hit from deep, and Garden City up was up 10. They led by eight at the intermission, 42-34.

"I'm really proud of our girls for staying tough in this one," Scales said. "They didn't play well the other night, and it would have been easy to hang their heads. They didn't."

The Broncbusters kept the pressure on in the third, and when Neves drained two free throws, Garden City led 54-40 with 5:16 remaining in the period. They stretched that to 17 when Donetria McGee cashed in from the line later in the quarter. Then they went for the kill in the fourth, connecting on 9-of-15 from the floor including Ariyanna Hall's midrange pullup and driving layup that gave the Broncbusters a 72-49 cushion with 3:44 to go.

"We actually put together a really good fourth quarter," Scales added. "That's something we didn't do on Wednesday."

Stephens finished with 12 points on 4-of-9 from downtown for Garden City, who shot 48 percent from the floor (29-of-61). It marked the second time this season that the Broncbusters shot better than 46 percent from the field.

Briona Jensen scored 12 points in 26 minutes to lead Neosho, who lost for the fourth time in their last five games.

Neosho Co.  21; 13; 13; 16; - 63

Garden City  23; 19; 19; 20; - 81  

Garden City will travel to El Dorado on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. game against Butler.