By Mike Pilosof
Trinidad, CO-Garden City is still figuring out how to close games, and on Wednesday, Charinee Mitchell's team learned a very valuable lesson.
Kate Rohr scored 23 points in 26 minutes off the bench for Trinidad State, Nuria Saez and Julia Trujillo combined for 23, and the Trojans overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to beat the Broncbusters 63-60 at Scott Gymnasium.
"These girls know what we are doing tomorrow," Mitchell said after the game. "We are going to be running. Nothing needs to be said."
Garden City (3-2) couldn't overcome a shaky third quarter, one in which they missed 10 of their 12 shots from the field and scored just seven points. Meantime, the Trojans flipped the script, using a 16-4 run to tie the game at 44 once Rohr hit 1-of-2 free throws. She added two more freebies moments later before Adonica Baca-Martinez split a pair at the stripe, giving Trinidad State a 47-44 edge going into the fourth.
"These freshman have to learn that they have to bring it every night," Mitchell said. "And we will keep running them until they get it."
Daz'Monique Johnson ended a near five-minute scoring drought for the Broncbusters once she knocked down a midrange jumper early in the final period. Talia Roberts followed with a basket, and the Broncbusters had the lead again with 7:15 to play. But the fourth quarter was a microcosm of Garden City's early-season inconsistencies, as the Broncbusters could never put the Trojans away.
There were four lead changes and four ties over the final seven minutes. Garden City took their final advantage when Johnson hit a shot just outside the paint that put the road squad up 57-55 with 2:28 remaining. But Saez answered with a 17-footer on the other end that evened the score before Julia Trujillo added basket, and Baca-Martinez and Rohr each went 1-of-2 at the line to give Trinidad State a 61-57 lead with 22 seconds remaining.
"It was another game where we had plenty of chances to win it," Mitchell said.
Garden City didn't go quietly. Jaleah Bellany hit a 3 out of a timeout to trim the deficit to one. The Broncbusters even had a couple of chances to tie or win the game in the final seconds thanks to a turnover by Rohr. But Roberts left an 18-footer short before missing a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"We have to figure this thing out," Mitchell added.
Roberts led the way with 16 points but was just 6-of-21 shooting for Garden City, who led by as many as 13 points in the first half. Alyssa Boyce and Sara Alsabbaheen each added 10.
Rohr was 7-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 from downtown for the Trojans, who have won six of their first seven games. Trujillo scored 12 points and pulled down five boards.
Next up: Garden City vs. Bethel JV-Friday, Nov. 16-4:45 p.m. pregame; 5 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app