Broncbusters go cold in season-ending loss
EL DORADO - During the regular season, Garden City Community College was a mere seconds away from a major upset on Butler's home floor. Three weeks later however, the Grizzlies looked like a completely different team.
Paris Mullins scored 14 points and pulled down five rebounds, her team nailed 7-of-12 from long range, and the Grizzlies topped the Broncbusters 70-44 in the Region VI quarterfinals Wednesday night at the Power Plant. With the win, Butler advanced to play Barton in the semifinals on Friday, while the Broncbusters season ended at 13-11.
"We just didn't come to play today," Head Coach Antwain Scales said. "We weren't focused, and it showed right from the start of the game."
After a brilliant second-half comeback on Monday night vs. Cloud County, the Broncbusters struggled offensively against the Grizzlies, and with the game tied at 8 in the first, Butler used a 12-5 run capped by Mullins' buzzer-beating 3 to end the quarter coming off a pretty assist by Skyla Knight. That put the home team up 20-13 going to the second.
"We just didn't make shots in this game," Scales admitted.
Garden City missed 22 of their 24 3-point attempts and shot 28 percent from the floor for the game, the fourth time they've been held under 30 this season. It was tied for their second worst shooting performance of the year.
"It wasn't really anything Butler was doing," Scales explained. "We just flat out couldn't shoot tonight, and that's why we lost."
The Broncbusters were held without a field goal for more than five minutes in the second. In fact, it wasn't until Jill Stephens connected on a midrange jumper with 4:17 to go in the half that Scales' squad finally hit a shot. But they had already dug themselves a sizable hole, and when Carissa Beck canned a triple with 1:15 to go, the Grizzlies were up 34-22. Then, after Elisabeth Matas-Martin trimmed the deficit to nine, it was Riley Hett drilling a trey from the wing in the final seconds to give Butler a 37-25 halftime lead.
"When you don't make shots, that's the result," Scales insisted.
Considering their poor shooting, Garden City still had a chance down 14 going to the fourth. But all hopes of a comeback ended when they clanged 3-of-16 shots over the final 10 minutes. On the other end, Tamara Nard hit from in close, Kaylee Nero got free for a layup, and Knight finished at the rim, putting Butler ahead 59-38 with 6:08 to play. They pushed the lead to 26 when Hett rattled home a 3-pointer to make it 68-42.
"I'm still proud of what these young ladies did this year," Scales said. "I love every one of them."
Knight finished with nine points, three assists, and four steals for Butler. Cymirah Williams pulled down six rebounds in 11 minutes off the bench, and Mullins hit three 3's.
Aerihna Afoa and Donetria McGee each netted 11 points for Garden City, which lost by double figures for just the second time this season. Britney Mapang ripped down a team-high six rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench.