By Mike Pilosof
Concordia, KS-It has been a tough week for the Garden City women.
On Wednesday, the Broncbusters suffered the second-worst loss of the Nick Salazar era. On Saturday, Cloud County poured more salt in a wide-open wound.
Kaley Broeckelman hit five 3-pointers and scored 19 points, while her team totaled 22 assists on 31 made baskets as the Thunderbirds disposed of the Broncbusters 84-51 at Arley Bryant Gymnasium.
It was Garden City's seventh loss this season by 20 or more points.
"On Wednesday, I felt like we didn't have any effort," Head Coach Nick Salazar. "Tonight, we gave effort, it just wasn't enough."
Cloud County (17-7, 14-7) took control of this one early, using a 10-0 run in the first that was capped with Kelsi Mueller's 3-pointer that gave the Thunderbirds an 18-4 advantage six minutes into the contest. They led 27-13 at the end of one and held Garden City to just 4-of-14 shooting in the first 10 minutes.
"Cloud County can shoot; we knew that coming in," Salazar said. "And we didn't stop it."
The Thunderbirds connected on 11 of their first 16 shots from the field helping them build a 25-point lead with 2:30 left in the second. Shannon Owens then finished the dominating half off by scoring her team's final six points as Cloud County had a 44-24 cushion at the intermission.
"We didn't give up; you could tell the girls cared," Salazar said.
That feel-good story still did not solve the Thunderbird puzzle.
The Broncbusters misfired on 15 of their 22 field goals over the final 20 minutes while Cloud County drilled five second-half treys. That once 25-point lead swelled to as many as 34 with 35 seconds to play in the fourth.
"In the end, all that matters is the result," Salazar explained. "Right now, we are fighting a lot of battles. It's been a rough year. We haven't shot it well all season long."
Monica Barefield scored 17 in the loss for Garden City (8-17, 6-15) but was just 4-of-16 from the field. Jessica Carillo added 10 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Simone Walker netted 12 points for Cloud County, who has won their two games vs. Garden City this season by an average of 35 points. Owens tallied 12; Mueller 11 and Alexis Gifford had 10.
Next up: Garden City vs. Pratt-Wednesday, Feb. 15-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasn`ews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app