By Mike Pilosof
Photos by Adam Shrimplin
Garden City, KS-Charinee Mitchell wanted to see her team play with a sense of desperation. And after four straight losses, the second-year coach finally got her message across.
Talia Roberts bounced back from her worst shooting game of the season to score 19 of her 21 points in the second half as the Broncbusters beat Dodge City 56-50 Saturday afternoon at Conestoga Arena.
"I didn't see the effort that we needed on Wednesday in Pratt," Mitchell said. "Today, we showed some life. And it's good because this is our building; we should play well at home."
Things were flowing early when Alyssa Boyce drilled a 3 and a midrange jumper to put Garden City up 7-2. After that, the Conquistadors followed with a 9-2 run of their own to take an 11-9 edge. It was one of five lead changes in the first 10 minutes with the Broncbusters taking a 14-13 advantage into the second.
But Dodge City was the aggressor before halftime, turning a two-point deficit midway through the period, into a six-point lead, thanks to an 8-0 run that was fueled by Ashley Nelson, who hit two free throws and drained a 10 footer to put the Conquistadors up 28-22 with 1:40 left in the half.
"It wasn't always pretty," Mitchell said. "But we just kept grinding and found a way."
Sarah Alsabbaheen did damage control for the Broncbusters, coming in off the bench and splashing home a triple. Garden City though still trailed 29-25 at the intermission.
Things completely flipped in the third quarter.
Roberts got things going with two free throws before hitting back-to-back 3's, the second of which incensed Dodge City Coach Zach Loll, who pounded his fist twice into the cushion by the scorer's table in frustration.
"Talia did a good job of just letting the game come to her," Mitchell said. "When she does that, everything is free flowing."
Roberts converted a three-point play that put Garden City up 45-40 before Taneigh Book's hook gave the Broncbusters their biggest lead 45-37 with 2:23 to play in the third.
But Dodge City, who overcame a double-digit deficit to beat the Broncbusters back in January, stayed with it, cutting the deficit to five at the end of the quarter before Ashia Pool nailed a triple from the left wing and Allie Baker beat Boyd to the rim for a layup to give the Conquistadors a 49-47 edge with 4:42 to play.
"Dodge City is scrappy because they fight hard," Mitchell said. "We knew what they were about before the game started."
Felicity Houston's running banker from the foul line tied the game before Roberts and-1 in transition gave the Broncbusters the lead for good. Dashanae Pajeaud hit a layup, and Roberts swished two free throws, polishing off a 9-0 run that put the game away.
"We made the plays that we had to," Mitchell said. "Again, it wasn't pretty."
Garden City held Dodge City to just one point over the final 4:42. The Conquistadors missed on seven of their nine shots in the fourth quarter.
Boyce tallied nine points in 23 minutes before fouling out at the end of the third quarter for Garden City. Houston dished out a team-high four assists, and Johnson added five points and nine rebounds.
Pool scored 12 points off the bench for Dodge City, who lost their fourth straight game. Makaela Ewing chipped in 11.