By Mike Pilosof
Liberal, KS-Growing up in a small town in the Texas Panhandle, Mollie Mounsey was the do-everything athlete. She was a district most valuable player on the hardwood, a two-time state champion discus thrower on the track team and an all-district performer in softball for Follet.
On Wednesday night, Mounsey added another bullet point to an already impressive resume-breaking a record that stood for nearly a decade.
The freshman scored a career-high 40 points while breaking the school, single-game mark by hitting 10 3-pointers as No. 4 Seward County raced past Garden City 86-55 at the Greenhouse.
The win, coupled with a coin flip in their favor gave the Saints the No. 1 overall seed in the Region VI tournament and a first-round bye. The Broncbusters finished as the No. 11 seed and will play at Cowley County on Thursday.
"They (Seward) have way too many weapons," Garden City Coach Nick Salazar said. "If you stop one player, another one gets hot. And that's what happened tonight."
Mounsey shredded the Broncbusters defense early, draining four triples in the first 7:30 and scoring 13 of her team's first 15 points. During one stretch, she tallied 11 straight as the Saints built a six-point first-quarter lead.
"She (Mounsey) was incredible shooting the ball," Salazar said. "You can't take that away from her. Seward County knew what was on the line.
Mounsey's first-quarter stat line: 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 4-of-6 from downtown with three rebounds.
"We played zone against them, but it's hard to play any type of defense when they're hitting shots like that," Salazar said.
It also did not help playing without Kavita Alkula, who missed the game after suffering a concussion on Saturday night.
"It was a bummer not having Kavita," Salazar said. "She's one of the best players to come through this program."
Without Akula's long-range marksmanship, the Broncbusters struggled to keep up. Mounsey's layup and Neidy Ocaune's two free throws gave Seward a 34-22 lead with 3:56 left in the first half. They eventually stretched that to 14 on Manuela Fungate's layup with 10 seconds to play. Seward led by 12 at the break.
"It was like the perfect storm," Salazar said. "What do you do?"
And Mounsey was not done.
The freshman hit four more 3's in the third to push the Saints advantage to 23. In the fourth, she canned a deep ball that made it 74-48 before splashing home her 10th triple with 3:05 left that put her team up by 29. Seward County (29-1, 25-1) led by as many as 34 in the final minute of the contest.
"I thought our effort was good, but Seward is very good," Salazar said. "I'm happy that someone other than Hutchinson dominated the league for once."
The Saints shot 50 percent from the field on 33-of-61. It was the 19th time this season that they shot 45 percent or better. It was also the 26th time they connected on 10 or more triples. They were 12-of-28 (43 percent) from downtown.
Oregon-State signee Joanna Grymek recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Saints, who captured their first league crown since 2009. Brennyn Seagle added 11 points.
Jessica Carillo scored 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting for Garden City, who saw their two-game winning streak snapped. Monica Barefield scored 17 and Tionnia McKee chipped in 12. DeRae Lewis was just 1-of-9 shooting. She finished with five points.
Next up: Garden City at Cowley County-Thursday, Mar. 2-TBA (No Radio)