Garden City snaps Barton's winning streak
GREAT BEND - Don't look now, but Garden City Community College owns the longest winning streak in the Jayhawk Conference.
Aerihna Afoa scored a season-high 17 points, Kealani Neves chipped in 13, and the Broncbusters won their fourth straight game with a 65-57 victory over Barton County Wednesday night at the Kirkman Center.
"This game came down to hard work and dedication," Head Coach, Antwain Scales said. "I told the girls yesterday in practice that nobody believes we can win this game; nobody except the people in this gym."
The win evened the season series, 1-1 while also snapping Barton County's eight-game winning streak, their longest since 2009.
"This game was for Jill Stephens," Scales explained. "Their coach after they beat us in Garden City, told Jill that she should have signed over there. That resonated with us. And these girls came out with fire, passion and determination."
That fire was tested in the early going, thanks to an impressive shooting display put on by Barton County, who nailed nine of their first 10 shots to open up a 19-11 first-quarter lead. They were up seven going to the second.
But despite the prolific start, the Broncbusters never let the game get away, and late in the second period, Donetria McGee's three-point play finished off an 8-0 run that tied things up at 30. They were down 35-31 at the half.
"These girls showed up today in a big way," Scales stated. "They definitely bought in."
Garden City scored the first seven points of the third quarter, which included an Afoa triple and a Neves finish at the basket. But the Cougars took the lead back when Cora Anderson completed a three-point play, and Vanessa Oduah sank a free throw to put Barton County on top 51-47.
With time winding down in the third, the freshman grabbed Zariyah Washington's missed baseline jumper and beat the buzzer with 2-foot floater, pulling the Broncbusters within two going to the fourth.
"Jill has been making big shots for us all year," Scales said. "Tonight, was no different."
But the game flipped midway through the final quarter, and it was Afoa who was right in the middle of it. The sophomore transfer, who played for Scales at Colby last year and before that at Wichita South where she was part of a state championship team, swished a 25-foot bomb from the left side, Britney Mapang stole the ball and raced to the rim, and Neves hit a leaning 3-pointer from the right corner as the shot clock expired that gave garden City a 59-55 lead with two minutes to play. The Broncbusters then finished off the Cougars by hitting six free throws over the final 43 seconds. Incredibly, Garden City held Barton County without a field goal the final 10:43 of the game.
"That's just a testament to our defense," Scales said. "They played really well on that end of the floor."
Stephens finished with nine points, six boards and two steals for Garden City, which snapped a five-game losing streak to the Cougars. Elisabeth Matas-Martin chipped in seven points, three rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes off the bench.
Oduah paced Barton County with 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Anderson added 11, and Queen Ulabo pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
GARDEN CITY 14; 17; 18; 16; - 65
BARTON CO. 21; 14; 16; 6; - 57
Garden City will be back in action on Saturday when they host Dodge City for a 2 p.m. tipoff.