By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-In the aftermath of the worst loss during his tenure as Head Coach, Garden City skipper Nick Salazar had to say something. It was eating at him.
"I apologize to all the Buster fans," he said. "It's my job to make sure that this team never embarrasses itself. And tonight, we absolutely embarrassed ourselves."
Salazar's words were strong; after all, his team had just sputtered through their longest 40-minute stretch of the season. No. 2 Hutchinson had a lot to do with that.
Taylor Stahly tied a season high with five 3-pointers, Iowa-State commit Bride Kennedy-Hopoate tallied 16 and five rebounds, and the Blue Dragons handed the Broncbusters an 89-39 defeat Wednesday night at the Perryman Athletic Complex. The loss was the second most-lopsided margin in the history of the series, trailing only the 1980 meeting where Hutchinson blasted Garden City 100-47.
"It starts with me," Salazar said. "This is unacceptable. There was no effort by this team tonight, and quite frankly, it was hard to watch."
Hutchinson (23-1, 19-1), who won their 21st straight game, jumped out of the gates, scoring 14 of the game's first 18 points. That's when Garden City (8-16, 6-14) levied their lone response of the night.
The Blue Dragons closed the first quarter on a 7-2 run and led by nine heading into the second. That's when the Stahly show went into full effect.
DeRae Lewis had just scored her lone basket of the first half for Garden City that cut a 17-point deficit down to 15. Stahly took it from there, drilling three straight 3-pointers and scoring the last 11 points of the first half for Hutchinson as John Onjtes's team rolled into the locker room up 47-21.
The Blue Dragons outscored the Broncbusters 26-9 and shot 10-of-18 from the floor (56 percent) in the second quarter. It only got worse from there.
Stahly was far from finished, knocking home her fifth 3-pointer early in the third to give Hutchinson a 55-26 advantage. That basket fueled a 14-0 spurt that blew the game wide open.
Meantime Garden City mustered just four made field goals over the final 18 minutes of the game. They were outscored 42-18 in the second half and trailed by as many as 53 after Shayla DeGarmo's 3-pointer made it 89-36 with 20 seconds left.
"He (Onjtes) gets the most out of his players," Salazar said. "In our program, our players are not responding like his. That has to change, or we will never win."
Stahly finished the night with 17 points for Hutchinson, who won for the ninth straight time against Garden City. Inja Butina had 15 points and four assists. Kyla Williams tallied nine off the bench.
Akula paced the Broncbusters with nine points but was just 3-of-13 from the field. Lewis had nine and seven rebounds.
Next up: Garden City at Cloud County-Saturday, Feb. 11-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app