GCCC women lose early lead, fall to Pratt

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Kealani Neves, left, goes up for a three-point basket over Allen County's Chloe Burns Saturday at Perryman Athletic complex.

PRATT - The first six minutes of Monday night's game was some of the best basketball Garden City Community College has played all season. Unfortunately for Antwain Scales' bunch, the final 34 resembled nothing of the sort.

Jordan Mathis scored 10 of her team-high 15 points in the second half, Jada Moss added eight points and 14 rebounds, and Pratt erased a 17-point deficit to beat the Broncbusters 62-60 at the Beaver Dome.

"Our team was basically just going through the motions," Scales said afterwards. "We weren't rebounding like we needed to, and that really cost us down the stretch."

The Broncbusters dropped to 4-3 overall and 3-3 in conference play. They have now alternated wins and losses in their last five games.

"We had a lot of chances in this game, we just didn't capitalize," Scales explained.

But in the first quarter, it wasn't even a contest. Garden City blitzed Pratt out of the gate, hitting five of their first eight shots from the field in building a 17-0 advantage once Donetria McGee swished a pair of free throws. But once the Beavers settled in, the game turned on a dime. Christy Wiebe converted a three-point play; then canned an open triple, Cassie Onwugbfor rattled in a long ball, and Pratt closed the quarter on a 14-0 run.

"If we're going to play championship basketball, we are simply not ready at this point," Scales mentioned. "Mentally, physically, we're just not ready."

Garden City regained their footing in the second quarter thanks to Justis Odom, who hit a pair of baby hooks in the paint, Jill Stephens got loose for a deep 2, and the Broncbusters were back up by nine. They led by seven at the half, 35-28.

"We didn't execute, and we didn't play defense," Scales said.

In the third, the first-year coach could only watch as Pratt continued to chip away at the lead. Jayda Garrett hit back-to-back buckets including a buzzer-beating leaner from the top of the key that knotted the score at 43 going to the fourth.

"Pratt attacked the basket at will and did whatever they wanted," Scales said. "They followed the instructions of their coach. Our young ladies didn't."

Leading by two with 4:20 remaining after McGee finished off a three-point play, Mathis took over for Pratt, scoring eight straight points capped off with an and-1 layup that gave the Beavers their largest cushion of the game, 61-55 with two minutes to play.

"We just didn't execute the game plan, that's the bottom line," Scales said.

Still, the Broncbusters were afforded a couple of opportunities down the stretch after Elisabeth Matas-Martin made a layup off the bounce and Jill Stephens drilled a 3 to make it 61-60. And after Onwugbfor split a pair of free throws for Pratt with 10 seconds left, the door was wide open for Garden City. But Stephens missed a running jumper from left of the lane in traffic at the buzzer. It appeared that the freshman was trying to draw contact.

"That wasn't a foul," Scales explained. "Again, we just didn't execute."

Jaylyn Taylor tied a season-high with 11 points for Pratt, which won for the first time this season in a game decided by three points or less. Wiebe chipped in 10 off the bench.

Odom finished with 10 points and eight boards for Garden City. McGee had 12 on 4-of-8 shooting, Stephens added 11, and Matas-Martin tallied 10.

Garden City  17; 18; 8; 17; - 60

Pratt  14; 14; 15; 19; - 62

The Broncbusters were back in action on Wednesday, hosting Barton County.