Broncbuster women move to 6-0 with road wins

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Kealani Neves, center, drives into the lane and passes the ball back out to an open teammate for a three-point basket Saturday against Coffeyville at Perryman Athletic Complex.

Thanksgiving may be a little sweeter for the Garden City Community College women’s basketball team, as the Broncbusters moved to 6-0 with a pair of road wins earlier in the week in Colorado.  On Monday, GCCC defeated Trinidad State, 81-58, and then grabbed a 50-37 victory on Tuesday at Lamar.

TRINIDAD STATE (81-58)

TRINIDAD, CO - Kealani Neves's basketball odyssey has taken her from Utah to Hawaii, back to Utah, the Pacific Northwest, and now Garden City. She played at three different high schools; then spent a season as a star guard at Southwestern Oregon Community College, before transferring to play for Antwain Scales. So, to say her path to being at Garden City Community College was circuitous, may be the biggest understatement in history.

But this coaching staff is sure glad she took the route that she did.

The sophomore scored 19 of her career-best 25 points in the second half, Alexis Smith added 18, and Garden City improved to 5-0 for the first time in nine years with an 81-58 win over Trinidad State Monday night at Scott Gymnasium. It was the Broncbusters fourth straight win by double digits.

"I know we won the game, but I'm truly disappointed in the way that we played tonight," Scales said afterwards. "Turnovers cost us, and we couldn't make free throws."

Truth be told, this game was far from Garden City's finest performance. The Broncbusters missed 16 freebies, turned the ball over 25 times and let Trinidad State mount a comeback in the third quarter. But what's more impressive than anything: the Broncbusters were able to sleepwalk to a 23-point victory.

"On paper, we should have lost this game," Scales admitted.

But as poorly as the Broncbusters shot at the line, they made up for it from distance. Garden City finished a season-best 7-of-10 from long-range including a perfect 3-of-3 during a 27-point fourth-quarter eruption that turned an 11-point lead into a runaway. Neves canned a 3-pointer from the wing; then two more from the corner, as Garden City opened a 74-54 advantage with 1:35 remaining.  

"Everybody has to do their part," Scales said. "Kealani stepped up big for us, and we needed it."

Neves was efficient too, finishing 8-of-14 from the field, 5-of-8 from downtown and 4-of-4 at the line, doing so in only 24 minutes thanks to a bit of foul trouble.

Garden City never trailed, scoring the first seven points, which included an early Neves 3-pointer. Smith's triples stretched the lead to 15-7 five minutes in, Justis Odom hit a turnaround in the paint, and Donetria McGee hit a runner just below the dotted line for a 22-10 advantage after one. They pushed that to as high as 15 early in the second on Derryana Cobbins' line-drive jumper. They were up 11 at the half.

"We have to come to play every night," Scales said. "We addressed the free-throw issue at halftime, but I feel like we just didn't come ready to play."

The Trojans made their move in the third quarter. Evette Lansing rattled home a triple from the left wing, Ylenia Exposito Perez connected from 16 feet, and Mya Williams swished a midrange jumper to pull Trinidad State within five, 39-34 with 4:54 to play in the period. But that's as close as they would get the rest of the way. Neves answered with a three-point play, Odom hit two free throws, and the Broncbusters were up 11 going to the fourth.  

Smith finished 13-of-16 at the line for Garden City, which has beaten their five opponents by an average of 17 points. Neves recorded her second 20-point game in a Broncbuster uniform, and Ashton McCorry pulled down 10 rebounds.

Williams scored 16 for Trinidad State, which lost its third straight to drop to 1-7 overall.

Garden City 22; 11; 21; 27; - 81

Trinidad State  10; 12; 21; 15; - 58

Garden City Community College's Donetria McGee, right, drives the lane for a basket Saturday against Coffeyville Saturday at Perryman Athletic Complex.

LAMAR (50-37)

LAMAR, CO - In her 55th game in a Broncbuster uniform, Donetria McGee put together her most complete performance.

The sophomore poured in a career-high 27 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and had five steals, Kealani Neves chipped in 12 points, and Garden City raced past Lamar, 50-37 at the Wellness Center on Tuesday night. The Broncbusters improved to 6-0 for the first time since 2012 and won their fifth straight game by double digits.

"I don't know what it is, but the last two games, we just haven't come to play," Head Coach, Antwain Scales said afterwards. "We are so much better defensively."

Still, the numbers were impressive on that end. Garden City held the Runnin' Lopes to 30 percent shooting (15-of-50), 4-of-19 from downtown (21 percent) and forced 23 turnovers that led to 19 points.

"It was a great night for Nee-Nee (McGee), but we still can play better defensively as a unit," Scales added.

The Broncbusters, who trailed by two at the end of one, broke the game open by outscoring Lamar 20-2 in the second quarter. Garden City netted the first 18 points of the period thanks to McGee's banker in the paint and Neves's driving layup and 3-pointer that put the visitors up, 31-15 with 1:27 left in the half.  Then in the waning seconds of the quarter, Ashton McCorry found McGee, who cut backdoor for an easy layup that gave Garden City a 33-17 advantage going into the locker room.

So, how good was the Broncbuster defense during that 10-minute stretch? Well, they limited Lamar to 1-of-11 shooting in the quarter and held them scoreless for the first 9:35 of the period before Cristina Rojas's layup ended the drought.

"We never take any opponent lightly," Scales explained. "Lamar is extremely well coached. We just have to continue to take care of the things that we can control."

But just like Monday night in Trinidad, the Broncbusters struggled offensively in the third. Garden City misfired on 14 of their 19 shots and bricked all four of their 3-point attempts. Still, they built a 19-point cushion in the period and led by as many as 20 late in the fourth following McGee's offensive rebound and stick back that made it, 49-29.

McGee finished the night 10-of-16 from the field and 7-of-11 from the line for Garden City, which won on a night where their bench managed only three points. Neves, who couldn't miss 24 hours earlier, was just 5-of-18 in 35 minutes. McCorry added four points, three rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Althea Kara Angeles was the lone Lamar player in double figures but was just 4-of-13 from the floor.

Garden City  13; 20; 12; 5; - 50

Lamar  15; 2; 10; 10; - 37

Garden City will be in action next at Independence with a 2 p.m. tipoff on Saturday.