By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-The Charinee Mitchell era has started off with a bang in Garden City.
Hometown-product Jessie Carrillo scored 12 points off the bench, Daz'Monique Johnson had 12, and Garden City improved to 2-0 with a 58-53 victory over Lamar Saturday night at Conestoga Arena.
"We got up big, and got tired," Mitchell said after the game. "But we got it done regardless."
After trailing early 6-1, the Broncbusters got going in the first quarter, using an 11-4 run to take a two-point lead. Then, after a stalemate saw both teams go scoreless over the final three minutes of the first and the first three of the second, Garden City started to sizzle. Shakendra Tilley and Jada Washington made back-to-back layups, Washington added a triple, and Johnson got to the cup to make it 27-18. Talia Roberts followed with a 3-pointer, and Johnson beat the first-half buzzer with a layup that finished off a second quarter where Garden City outscored Lamar 16-5 to take a 32-20 lead into the locker room.
"Our defense played really well," Mitchell said. "But we let them back in the game. That can't happen."
The Broncbusters kept pouring it on in the third period when Carillo's trey gave Garden City their largest lead 50-24 with 2:47 remaining. That's when the Lopes made things very interesting.
Lamar opened the final period on a 15-6 run, slicing the Garden City lead down to 14. With less than 3:00 to go, Iva Belosevic's layup made it a single-digit contest.
"Our defense showed their true colors late in the fourth quarter," Mitchell said. "That was promising."
The Lopes kept coming, pulling to within five on Kelyn Moses's layup with 2:25 to go. That's' when the Broncbusters put the clamps down, holding Lamar scoreless the rest of the way.
"Our defense was very strong at the end," Mitchell added. "They didn't even get a shot off in the closing seconds. That was the story of the night."
Garden City won the game despite being outscored 24-8 in the final period. The Lopes shot nearly 50 percent from the floor during their furious rally.
"Jessica gave us a real spark off the bench," Mitchell said. "She does a really good job of pinning people. I told our team during shoot around: know your personnel. When Jessica is in the game, get her the ball."
Carillo was superb in 27 minutes, connecting on 5-of-7 from the floor. She, Kala Jones, and Roberts produced the only reserve points on the night for Garden City.
Abigail Green added 11 for the Broncbusters and Johnson went 6-of-7 from the line for Garden City, who finished the night 15-of-19 from charity stripe.
Moses led all scorers for Lamar with 20 points on 7-of-14 from the field, and Belosevic scored all 11 of her points in the fourth quarter.
Next up: Garden City at South Plains-Tuesday, Nov. 7-5:15 p.m. pregame; 5:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app