Garden City comes back for win against NW Tech

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Aerihna Afoa passes the ball off to a teammate while running the Broncbusters' offense March 24 against Seward County at Perryman Athletic Complex.

GOODLAND - Antwain Scales has said it all season.

"Sometimes, it's hard to get these girls up for games against teams that they think they're better than."

Wednesday night was 'exhibit a' but luckily for Scales' group, his team snapped out of two-and-a-half quarter fog to close the regular season with back-to-back wins.

Jill Stephens found her shooting stroke in the second half to finish with 13 points, Britney Mapang added 11, and Garden City Community College stormed back from 15 down to beat Northwest Tech 54-52 at Max Jones Field House. The Broncbusters finished fourth in the Jayhawk West and will host Cloud County in the first round of the Region VI tournament on Monday at 5:30 p.m.

"I am not pleased at all with the way this team played," Scales said. "We didn't come to play again, and it's so frustrating. We tell them one thing, and they do another."

To be honest, the Broncbusters offense looked lifeless for most of the first half. They failed to score a single point over the final four minutes of the first quarter, Northwest Tech hit the brown and gold with a 20-2 run, and the underdog Mavericks were up 28-14 with 1:00 to play in the first half. After Garden City sliced the lead to single digits, it was Moniek Meeringa banking home a 3 to close period, putting the Mavericks up 32-20.

"This is the second time that we really overlooked this team," Scales said. "Brock (Kimball) does a really god job with them, and they outplayed us again. We are lucky that we won the game."

The low point of the night came midway through the third period when Emmaline Rieder knocked down a midrange jumper to put Northwest Tech up 40-25. That was the final straw.

"I pulled some of our players and tried to find combinations that worked," Scales explained.

The move worked. Jill Stephens knocked down four free throws, Elisabeth Matas-Martin whipped a beautiful no-look pass to Kealani Neves for a layup, and Garden City was within five with 9:24 to go in the fourth. After the Mavericks pushed it back to eight, Stephens nailed a 3 from the corner, Donetria McGee knocked down two shots from the stripe, and Taylor Lawhorne swished a trey from the right corner to put the Broncbusters in front 53-51 with 1:52 remaining. It was their first lead since late in the first quarter.

"We have to get back to fundamental basketball if we want do anything in the postseason," Scales said. "

The Mavericks had multiples chances to tie in the final 30 seconds, but Lauryn Viera missed a free throw, Alonna Harvey-Williams rimmed out a 3 from the right wing, and Chloe Andrew was wide left on a triple from left arc at the buzzer, giving Garden City their second largest come-from behind win this season.

"We found a way to win this game," Scales stated. "But we can't play like that and expect to win in the playoffs."

The Broncbusters shot 38 percent from the floor, finished 4-of-13 from 3, and outrebounded Northwest Tech 32-24. McGee chipped in nine points and two steals, and Lawhorne dropped in eight points and seven rebounds.

Rieder scored a season-high 18 for Northwest Tech, which lost their seventh straight game. Vieira, who missed the first meeting with an ankle injury, scored 18 on 4-of-10 shooting.