By Mike Pilosof
Coffeyville, KS-So much for not being able to win on the road.
Whatever concerns Garden City Coach Charinee Mitchell had regarding her team being rusty coming back from the Christmas break were erased with one of the Broncbusters most complete performances of the season.
Daz'Monique Johnson fell one point shy of tying her season high with 18, Jada Washington dished out a career-best 10 assists, and the Broncbusters beat the Red Ravens 66-59 on Jay Herkelman Court. It was Garden City's first win in Coffeyville in more than two decades.
"This is a big win for us," Mitchell said afterwards. "I'm so proud of how we came out of the break. Our conditioning was really good."
More impressive was how Garden City (8-6, 5-5) shared the ball, totaling a season-high 22 assists on their 24 made field goals.
"We ran our stuff, and we ran it pretty well," Mitchell added. "That was refreshing."
All of this despite some hiccups at the start of the game.
The Red Ravens took total command early on, racing out to a 9-0 lead. That advantage swelled to 15-4 once Tatiana McCree nailed a 3-pointer with 3:32 left in the first quarter.
"We just had to slow down," Mitchell said. "We needed to play defense first. Once we did, everything else kind of fell into place."
The Broncbusters responded resurgently, answering with an 11-0 spurt, capped by Abigail Green's trey from the left wing that tied the contest at 15. Then, after falling down by seven in the second quarter, Garden City responded again, getting a 3-pointer from Talia Roberts followed by Kala Jones layup and floater that gave the Broncbusters their first lead, 31-30 with 2:12 remaining in the half.
"They just kept working," Mitchell said.
After Lucy Burke drained one of her five triples on the night to push Coffeyville (8-6, 6-4) back in front, it was Jones again, beating the second-quarter buzzer with a teardrop in the paint that knotted the game at 33 at the intermission.
"This was a confidence builder for us," Mitchell said. "And we did it on the road."
Garden City took the lead for good two minutes into the third period when Green connected on a free-throw line jumper. Roberts added another 3-pointer, and Johnson splashed home two, transition layups to push the lead to six late in the period. It grew to as many as 11 in the final quarter.
"Every time Coffeyville made a run, we responded every single time," Mitchell said. "Our defense was pretty good tonight."
Pretty good is right. The Broncbusters held Coffeyville to just 31 percent shooting in the second half. The Red Ravens were just 20-of-53 for the game.
"We changed up defenses a few times and they adjusted each time, so I'm very proud of that," Mitchell said. "
Roberts chipped in 13 points for Garden City, who won a season-high third straight game. Shakendra Tilley bounced back from her scoreless outing vs. Otero; she finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
McCree totaled 15 points for Coffeyville, who watched their four-game winning streak come to an end. Sky Jasper added 13.
Next up: Garden City vs. Neosho-Saturday, Jan. 6-1:45 p.m. pregame; 2 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app