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Garden City knocks off Butler in first round of conference tournament

Garden City knocks off Butler in first round of conference tournament

By Mike Pilosof

Garden City, KS-For those who did not take much stock in Garden City's late-season surge, know this: the Broncbusters are coming.

Just ask Butler.

Harlee Davis led the way with four blocks, Morgan Gray had 16 assists, and the Broncbusters grabbed their first postseason victory since 2012 with a straight set 25-18, 25-20, 25-18 victory over the third-seeded Grizzlies in the first round of the Region VI tournament at the Power Plant on Wednesday night. With the win, the Broncbusters advanced to play Hutchinson in the semifinals Sunday at 4 p.m. in Liberal.

"We played a complete game," Head Coach Jacque Matula said after the match. "Harlee was amazing; she had some fantastic blocks on the front line. Our offense was great."

Garden City (12-21, 7-9) wasted no time in establishing their dominance against the heavily-favored Grizzlies, building two separate seven-point leads in the opening set before Abigail Skeeler's crosscourt kill put the finishing touches on a brilliant first game.

"We are playing well at the right time," Matula said.

If there were still any lingering doubts, Kaylee Line's emphatic spike early in the second stanza sent a shockwave throughout El Dorado.

"When our front line plays like that, we are tough to beat," Matula added.

After Butler (25-11, 10-6) erased a five-point deficit in the second set, Garden City went back on the offensive, sparked by Ashley Brown's block that ended a 10-2 Grizzlies run, giving the Broncbusters a 12-10 advantage. On set point, Brown was there again, this time terminating a kill down the middle, putting Garden City up 2-0.

"We are ready for the challenge," Matula said. "We proved that tonight."

Butler definitely felt the pressure in the third set.

Garden City jumped all over the Grizzlies, building a 16-7 lead and forcing Butler to use two timeouts. After the home squad fought off one match point, Brown delivered the knockout block with a spike that split the middle of the Butler back line, giving Matula her first postseason win as a Head Coach.

"We are ready for Hutchinson," Matula said. "We will see what these girls can do."

Brown finished the match with 10 kills while Bailey Martinez kept things alive with 24 digs.