Garden City fights back to take down Trinidad State

Garden City fights back to take down Trinidad State

W, 73-68

By Mike Pilosof

Photos by Adam Shrimplin

Garden City, KS-Charinee Mitchell remembers what happened three weeks ago.

Leading by nine at the half, the Broncbusters were outscored 19-7 in the third by Trinidad State before Talia Roberts missed a runner that would have given Garden City the lead late.

Fast forward almost a month, and Garden City returned the favor.

Roberts scored 26 points, Daz'Monique Johnson recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and the Broncbusters overcame a 12-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Trojans 73-68 Wednesday night at Conestoga Arena.

"We needed this win from a confidence standpoint," Mitchell said. "It was a big game because of that."

Nothing came easy on a night where the Broncbusters couldn't buy a bucket. Garden City shot just 38 percent from the floor and missed 23 of their 28 3-point attempts.

"We couldn't hit a shot to save our lives," Mitchell said. "We just had to grind this one out."

While Garden City (6-5, 1-1) was stone cold, Trinidad State couldn't miss. The Trojans drilled four 3's in the second quarter and used a 14-0 run, that was capped with Kate Rohr's long ball that put Trinidad State (8-6, 0-1) up 30-18 with 2:46 remaining. They tied a season high with 11 triples.

"They were hitting everything," Mitchell said.

The Broncbusters stormed back quickly. Johnson hit two free throws and a layup, Deborah Ford drained two freebies, Roberts canned a triple; then stole the ball and laid it in to give Garden City a 33-32 advantage with 12 seconds to go in the half. But before you could blink, the Trojans went back in front on Julia Trujillo's buzzer-beating hook that put Trinidad State up 34-33 at the break.

In the second half, the Broncbusters dug themselves into a seven-point hole once Nuria Saez fought her way through a triple team to score on the right block that made it 60-53 with 7:17 remaining.

"I thought the girls responded well to adversity tonight," Mitchell said. "They needed a game like this."

Garden City slowly worked back within striking distance, and Jaleah Bellany, who missed on her first eight 3-point attempts, connected on three in the second half, including a shot-clock buzzer-beating trey from the top of the key that tied the game at 62 with 3:34 on the clock. Her last triple came moments later when she shook off Rohr on the right wing before hitting nothing but net to put the Broncbusters up four.

"She (Bellany) is a lights-out shooter," Mitchell said. "She was missing a lot of open shots in the first half."

The play that sealed it though came on a mistake by Trinidad State. With the Broncbusters leading by two and the shot clock winding down, Shaylynn Choate inexplicably fouled Roberts shooting a 30-foot 3. The sophomore drained all three free throws, and Garden City climbed back over the .500 mark.

Bellany added 11 points off the bench for Garden City, who improved to 6-1 all-time vs. Trinidad State. Alyssa Boyce chipped in nine, and Felicity Houston had eight points and five boards.

Choate paced the Trojans with 14 points and hit 4-of-6 from downtown. Vigil had 13 points and seven assists, and Rohr tallied 11.

Next up: Garden City at Cowley-Saturday, Dec. 8-5:15 p.m. pregame; 5:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; and KWKR mobile app