By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-Every team has one of those days.
So after Garden City slogged through a five-point win over a Colby team that had just lost by 82 vs. Seward County on Wednesday, Head Coach Charinee Mitchell had a unique way of moving her team past their most inconsistent performance of the season.
"We broke things down a little differently," the first-year coach said. "We made a pact: never again on three."
Jessica Carrillo provided a much-needed scoring punch, tallying 12 off the bench on 5-of-8 shooting, Shakendra Tilley added 11, and the Broncbusters staved off a furious Trojans' upset attempt to win 54-49 Saturday afternoon at Conestoga Arena.
"That was our worst performance of the season by far," Mitchell said afterwards. "I don't know what happened today. There was no sense of anything different during shoot around."
All the things Garden City has not been this season came out in a 40-minute slugfest against a team that by all intense purposes is heading towards a sixth, single-digit win campaign in the last seven years.
Garden City (19-10, 16-9) misfired on eight of their first 11 shots and fell down 6-4 after Megan Woodward drained a deep 3-pointer from the right wing. It was one of nine lead changes in an uneven first half.
"These games always worry you as a coach because you know Colby fights hard," Mitchell said. "And when you are off your game, things like this happen."
The Broncbusters tied the game at 11 after one and appeared to steady the ship after holding Colby to just three points on 1-of-8 shooting in the second while building an 11-point halftime lead. They stretched that to 14 in the first two minutes of the third when Kelcy McHenry grabbed an offense rebound and converted a layup at the basket to put Garden City up 28-14.
But in a game that most expected to be a runaway, Colby (5-24, 3-22) had no plans of going quietly. The Trojans ripped off an 18-6 run to close the gap to two once Woodward nailed her second 3 of the game. Garden City was up 38-35 going to the fourth.
"I told our girls that if they're not onboard, then they need to get off the team," Mitchell said.
The Trojans tied the game three times in the fourth quarter, with the last coming when Elizabeth Keltz hit a layup that knotted the contest at 42 with 7:12 remaining. Garden City responded with five straight points, and Tilley's free throw put them up 47-42.
"We won the game, but we played terribly," Mitchell said. "There is no other way to put it."
Colby, once more, did their best to pull of the biggest upset of the season when Kaitlyn Guillory completed a three-point play to cut the Broncbusters' lead to 47-45 with 3:46 to play. But Tilley hit a layup and Green hit a dagger from the left slot with 26 seconds remaining, finally putting the pesky Trojans away.
"Let's hope we never see this type of performance again," Mitchell said.
Garden City finished with 16 turnovers and shot 39 percent from the field, but won for the eighth time in their last nine games. They scored 20 points off of 17 Colby giveaways and got 18 points from their bench.
Guillory notched her seventh double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds for Colby, who dropped their fourth straight game. Woodward and Jordan Dixon each added 11.
Next up: Garden City vs. Seward County-Monday, Feb. 26-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westerkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app