By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-In the final two minutes of Wednesday night's game vs. Cowley County, DeRae Lewis was whistled for a rather benign foul. But it was something that she did not agree with. It ended up costing her two technical fouls and a one-game suspension.
And boy did her team feel her absence on Saturday.
Damonica Franklin scored 13 of her career-high 29 points in the third quarter, Akia Andrews added 15, and Allen County completed a season sweep of Garden City with an 80-72 victory at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
"I'm embarrassed of how we played," Broncbusters Head Coach Nick Salazar said. "It's like an architect designing a building; only the building was never completed. Ours is nowhere near finished."
With Lewis out, Franklin took full advantage. But before she did, her teammates carried the load in the first half.
Allen County (7-14, 6-11) connected on 10 of their first 14 shots, scored a season-best 28 first-quarter points and had two separate 13-point leads early in the second. And they were doing it with a weapon that had been nowhere to be found during their first 20 games: the 3-point shot.
The Red Devils drained three of them in the first 10 minutes; then added one more late in the second as Allen County led by six at the break.
The troubling factor for the Broncbusters: Franklin sat most of the first half with foul trouble. Her return in the third, sent shockwaves throughout the DPAC.
"We could not stop her," Salazar said. "The personnel that we had on the floor was not capable of stopping her, and that's my fault."
Franklin had Angel Muir and Jessica Carillo on ice skates, scoring her team's first 13 points of the period. Her last bucket came with 4:45 to play in the third to give her team a commanding 55-38 advantage.
"This is an embarrassing loss," Salazar said. "Not because it's Allen County, but because we couldn't stop anything."
Franklin picked up her fourth foul with 4:30 left in quarter. That's when Garden City made their push to get back into the game.
Monica Barefield scored five straight followed by Megan Besecker's deep 3-pointer, Kavita Akula's two free throws and Besecker's second triple-helped put the stamp on a 13-0 run that pulled Garden City (7-14, 5-12) to within four 55-51 with 33 seconds remaining in the third. That was the closest they would get.
Franklin returned in the fourth to score nine more, and her three-point play and two free throws in the final 1:30 put the game out of reach.
"I take full responsibility for this team," Salazar said. "It starts with me, and I have to do a better job recruiting. Yes, we didn't have DeRae, but that means I need to recruit more post players."
Akula quietly had one of her most efficient games of the season, scoring 17 points on 5-of-7 from downtown for Garden City, who lost their fifth straight for the first time since 2009. Carrillo added 15, Barefield 14 and Besecker a career-high 13 points.
Summons scored nine of her 12 points in the first half for Allen, who won back-to-back games for only the second time this season.
Next up: Garden City at Indepdnence-Wednesday, Feb. 1-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app