Broncbusters knock off Pratt, 47-38

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Elisabeth Matas-Martin, left, drives in to the lane for a basket past Colby's Marveen Ross March 10 at Perryman Athletic Complex.

On Monday, Garden City Community College accomplished something that they hadn't done all season long.

Kealani Neves finished with 13 points and a season-high six assists, Justis Odom added 11 points and seven boards, and the Broncbusters posted their first three-game winning streak of the season with a 47-38 victory over Pratt at Conestoga Arena.

"We knew Pratt didn't have their best player in Jayda Moss, but a win is a win, and we'll take it," Head Coach Antwain Scales said.

Garden City improved to 8-7 overall and 7-7 in conference play, moving within three games of Seward for third place in the Jayhawk West.

"It wasn't pretty, but we just have to keep being aggressive," Scales explained. "As long as we do that, we give ourselves a chance in every game."

The Broncbusters began this contest the same way they did vs. Northwest Tech on Saturday, ice cold. After jumping out to a 5-0 advantage, Scales watched his team brick their next 11 attempts. Pratt responded with an 11-0 run capped off by Chariah Daniels' layup off the bounce that put the Beavers up 11-5. Garden City was down four going to the second.

"We can't get off to these slow starts," Scales mentioned. "We have to fight for everything that we get. We can't keep digging holes and then trying to fight our way out of it."

The Broncbusters though found a spark in the second quarter when Jill Stephens finally got loose, nailing a 3 from the right wing off a pretty feed by Katarina Zagorac. Elisabeth Matas-Martin canned a trey from the top of the key, Neves got to the rim, and Odom beat the buzzer with a leaning two-footer, capping off a 10-2 run to close the half that put Garden City up 26-17.

"We have to be a better rebounding team," Scales added. "Justis had seven rebounds. We need her on the glass for more than that."

Despite an off-shooting night from Garden City, the Broncbusters weren't really threatened in the second half. In fact, the closest Pratt got was following Jordan Mathis's layup that made it 31-26 with 4:14 remaining in the third. But Neves answered with a midrange jumper, and Stephens added a nice finish with the left hand at the rim, putting the home team up eight going to the fourth. Then, Britney Mapang's layup early in the final period pushed it to 10, and Stephens halted another Beaver comeback attempt with a deep 3 from the sideline, giving Garden City a 43-33 advantage.   

"Overall, I'm just happy to get the win," Scales said. "Going over to Pratt and losing was hard. We were able to redeem ourselves tonight."

After four straight games with double-digit 3s, Garden City came back down to earth finishing 4-of-15 (27 percent) from deep. They were just 18-of-52 (35 percent) from the floor. And after back-to-back solid outings, Taylor Lawhorne was held scoreless in 21 minutes.

"She (Lawhorne) didn't live up to expectations in this game," Scales explained. "She's a matchup problem for a lot of teams, and we need more from her."

Mathis scored 12 points for Pratt, which lost for the fourth time in their last five games. They were limited to a season-worst 26 percent shooting (13-of-50).

PRATT 11; 6; 11; 10; - 38

GARDEN CITY  7; 19; 10; 11; - 47

Garden City travels to Great Bend on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. game against Barton County.