Garden City makes easy work of NOC Tonkawa

Garden City makes easy work of NOC Tonkawa

W, 78-61

By Mike Pilosof

Enid, OK-Omega Tandy stressed that her team was gassed after two days of playing with only nine players. But if they were tired on Friday, they certainly never showed it.

Jaleah Bellany scored 21 points, Dasja Ross added a season-best 19, and Garden City raced past NOC Tonkawa 78-61 on the second day of the NOC Chick-fil-A Classic at the Stride Bank Center.

"It's tough playing our style with only nine players," Tandy said afterwards. "But that's the card we were dealt, and we handled it. That game yesterday though took a lot out of us. I don't think we played our best today."

Still, the Broncbusters were clearly the more talented team, and after falling down 4-0 two minutes into the first period, they let everyone in the gym know it. Bellany canned three straight ripples, Hidaya Thornton hit a runner along the left baseline, and Garden City was up 11-6. Ross buried a three, and Bellany swished a midrange jumper from inside the left arc, stretching their lead to nine 22-13. They were up 25-16 going into the second.

"I thought we had to manufacture our energy today," Tandy said. "I wish we would have taken care of the ball a little better. We're asking these kids to do a lot with a lot of adversity. They stretched this win out, and that's how it's going to be sometimes-ugly."

Really, the only competitive stretch of the game came in the second quarter when the Mavericks used an 8-1 surge capped with Lauren Coates elbow jumper to cut the Garden City lead to two, 28-26. But order was restored very quick once Bellany hit another 3 followed by Tyla Happer's triple that gave the Broncbusters a 13-point advantage. Moments later, Deborah Ford, who struggled from the field (2-of-10) drained two free throws, and Ross beat Carli Saddler off the bounce for a layup that put Garden City up 45-30 at the half.

"At the end of the day, it was ugly and grueling, but all we care about is getting the win," Tandy added.

In the third, the Broncbusters went for the throat once Ross buried a 3 and Ford hit a layup, putting the finishing touches on a 20-4 run that had Garden City up 20. They were up by as many as 22 in the third and led 69-47 a minute into the final period before NOC Tonkawa made one final run to get back in the game. Chideyah Guyton connected on back-to-back triples, and the Mavericks scored nine straight points to pull within 13, 69-56 with 7:26 to go.

"I've said this from the beginning that this is not a me program," Tandy said. "Everybody on this team should be able to step up and play."

As they did in the second quarter, the Broncbusters countered NOC Tonkawa's run with one of their own, scoring seven straight points, including back-to-back steals and layups by Ross and Felicity Houston that stretched the lead back to 20.

Garden City won the game despite being outrebounded 44-25. But the Broncbusters more than made up for that by hitting 11-of-26 on 3's, the fourth time this year they've knocked down 10 or more. Bellany was 4-of-9 from deep, Ross was 3-of-6, and Happer was 2-of-4 including an off-balance triple from the left corner that gave the Broncbusters a 20-point cushion with a minute to play in the third.

Guyton led the way for the Mavericks with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Lauren Coates chipped in 12, and Carlee Murray had nine points and six rebounds.

Next up: Garden City vs. Otero (Trinidad Classic), Friday, Nov. 22-1:45 p.m. pregame; 2 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app