By Mike Pilosof
Iola, KS-Whatever struggles Garden City had on the road earlier this season are a distant memory. And Saturday reaffirmed, despite a couple of hiccups the last couple of weeks, the Broncbusters continue to rise in the hierarchy that is the Jayhawk Conference.
Coming off the bench for the second straight game, Daz'Monique Johnson led the way, scoring 13 points and pulling down five rebounds, the second unit outscored their opponent 27-15, and Garden City beat Allen 64-43 at the Allen Gym on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Broncbusters improved to 3-1 in road games in January.
"We're getting more comfortable," Garden City Coach Charinee Mitchell said. "But we still have plenty of things to clean up."
The coach's demeanor in the second half said it all.
With her team up by 27 following Daz Monique Johnson's hook shot two minutes into the fourth quarter, Mitchell was blatantly upset. A perfectionist at heart, Mitchell watched her team give up eight straight points in a three-minute stretch of basketball that was really the only thing that went wrong on this day.
"I called a timeout and ripped them pretty good," Mitchell said. "And it's no disrespect to Allen, but if we want to get on the same level as the Seward's, the Cowley's, the Hutchinson's, we can't have lapses like that. We have to step on our opponent's throats when we have the chance, and I felt like we let them off the hook today."
It wasn't that the game was ever in doubt; it never was. But Mitchell's point served its purpose, and her team responded, scoring five straight points, and handing Allen their sixth, 20-point loss of the season.
"It's frustrating at times because I know we have it in us," Mitchell said. "But if you do that against a team like Seward or a team like Cowley, where you take your foot off the gas, you'll get beat."
"We started off well, which is what we were supposed to do," Mitchell said.
After the Red Devils cut the lead to two, Garden City countered with a 13-4 run to end the first, capped with Kala Jones' buzzer-beating 3-pointer that put the Broncbusters up 21-10. Jones wasn't finished, splashing him six points off the bench in the second as the brown and gold built their lead to 14. They were up 34-21 at the intermission.
In the third quarter, Garden City (12-9, 9-8) overwhelmed Allen, forcing four turnovers while outscoring them 16-5. Johnson concluded the frame with her own person 6-0 run, getting and and-1 layup followed by four free throws in the final 1:57 for a 50-26 cushion going into the fourth. The freshman added a layup and a hook shoot in the final stanza, giving the Broncbusters their largest lead of the day.
"We are onto the next one," Mitchell said. "We have Independence coming in on Wednesday, and they beat us pretty good at their place. But we are a different team now. We still have to put four quarters together."
Washington scored nine points and dished out five assists for the Broncbusters, who improved to 5-5 in road games this season. Shakendra Tilley scored eight and was 4-for-4 from the field, while McHenry chipped in eight and four boards.
Kamri Summons, Jakira Wilson and Alicia Verge each scored eight points apiece for Allen, who saw their two-game winning streak snapped. They haven't won three in a row since November, 2016.
Next up: Garden City vs. Independence-Tuesday, Jan. 31-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM: westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app