By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS- Northing could have prepared Garden City for the machine dressed in green that rolled into Conestoga Arena on Monday night.
Mollie Mounsey scored 20 points and went 4-of-5 from distance, Valerie Caro scored 11 off the bench, and 10th-ranked Seward County stormed past the Broncbusters 75-53. The Saints had already clinched their second straight, regular-season league crown while Garden City secured the No. 7 seed in the Region VI tournament. They open postseason play Thursday at home vs. Northwest Tech.
"I am not even mad at my team; they gave good effort," Mitchell said afterwards. "We just ran into a really good team."
And once the Saints got cooking, there was nobody in the gym that could stop them.
Seward County (27-3, 23-3) turned a three-point lead at the end of one into a 20-point halftime bulge thanks to a 27-point second quarter in which the ladies in green nailed 6-of-7 from the behind arc. And it was Mounsey who set the tone.
The reigning conference player of the year hit two triples in the final 46 seconds of the second period, the last of which came at the buzzer, giving Seward County a 45-25 halftime edge.
"We just missed a lot of shots tonight," said Mitchell, whose team finished 21-of-67 from the floor (31 percent). "I told the kids that if they want to play past Thursday, they need to get in the gym and get shots up."
The Saints did not let up in the third quarter. Silvia Veloso scored six of Seward County's first 10 points in the frame, (Vanessa) Caro hit a long 3 followed by Lexi Hernandez's trey that capped off a 9-0 run that had Seward County up by 35, 67-32 with 1:10 remaining in the period.
"A good basketball team capitalizes on another team's mistakes," Mitchell said. "And that's exactly what Seward did."
But credit Mitchells' team for not folding, even when the game was already in doubt. The Broncbusters ripped off 12 straight points in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 22. But in the end, the Saints pressure defense mixed with their 3-point aerial display, was too much to overcome.
Mounsey finished 7-of-9 from the field in 29 minutes for the Saints, who won for the 20th time in their last 21 games. Vilma Covane added 10 points and six rebounds, and Seward County finished 10-of-19 from 3-point land.
Next up: Garden City vs. Northwest Tech-Thursday, March 1-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app