By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-Alicia Brown scored 21 points, former Liberal star Jada Mickens had 16, and Hutchinson beat Garden City 73-59 Saturday night at Conestoga Arena.
Dodge City-native Tia Bradshaw added 15 and Dejanae Roebuck netted 12 for the Blue DRagons, who shot 48 percent from the field, outrebounded the Broncbusters 37-22 and outscored them in the paint 26-12.
For the most part, Garden City (5-5, 3-4) outplayed and outhustled Hutchinson all night, building a five-point lead midway through the second quarter. But the game came down to two fatal blows in the second half
After the Broncbusters pulled to within a bucket in the first two minutes of the third period, Hutchinson created separation; sparked by Alicia Brown's corner 3. Mickens added a couple of layups and two free throws before Brown knocked in two bunnies, igniting a 12-0 run that put the Blue Dragons up 45-31 with 4:21 to go in the third.
"We came out with a lot of energy, and we made some adjustments," Mitchell said. "But this game came down to decision making."
The Broncbusters fought back, and Kala Jones midrange jumper pulled them to within eight going into the fourth. That's the closest they got the rest of the way as Hutchinson put the game away with a 15-0 run in the final period. In fact, Garden City was held scoreless the first 5:06 of the last stanza until Jada Washington split a pair of free throws. The Blue Dragons built their lead to as many as 24 with 2:08 remaining.
"We started the second half great," Mitchell said. "But after that, we got really sloppy. That obviously cost us."
Washington paced the Broncbusters with 11 points but was just 3-of-13 from the field. Jones added 10 points off the bench as Garden City's second unit outscored Hutchinson's 23-4. Garden City shot just 28 percent from the floor. It was the third time this season they have shot south of 30.
Next up: Garden City at Cloud County-Wednesday, Dec. 6-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app