By Mike Pilosof
Liberal, KS-A cold shooting first quarter doomed Garden City for the rest of the afternoon.
Alexys Grice and Amaya Johns combined for 47 points and six made 3's, the Broncbusters were limited to just 34 percent shooting, and Frank Phillips sprinted past Garden City 79-64 in the opening day of the Pizza Hut Classic at the Green House.
"We just couldn't hit a shot to start the game," first-year Head Coach Omega Tandy said afterwards. "Once that happened, we just never found any rhythm."
Garden City led briefly in the opening minutes when Dasja Ross connected on a 15 footer to put the Broncbusters up 4-3. But that's the only time they were in front the entire game.
Garden City went stone cold after that, going scoreless for more than six minutes. In the meantime, the Plainsmen carved out a six-point lead once Sydney McColl found her way to the basket. Ariyanna Hall drained a triple from the right wing to end the drought for the Broncbusters, but Frank Phillips answered with a 10-0 run, and when Grice hit two free throws with 14 seconds to go, Garden City was staring up at a 13-point deficit. They were down 10 at the end of one.
"Things may have been different if we could have hit a shot in that first quarter," Tandy said. "But we didn't."
Garden City misfired on their first five shots to begin the second; then watched the Plainsmen equal their largest deficit of the half when Grice knocked down a midrange jumper to make it 32-19 with 3:44 to play. But give Tandy's girls a lot of credit. They held Frank Phillips without a point the rest of the half, and sliced the deficit to seven at the break after Corina Suarez-Tudela hit a 3, and Jaleah Bellany splashed home two freebies to make it 32-25.
The Broncbusters continued that run early in the second half, pulling to within three on Bellany's triple from the top of the key. But Garden City failed to get back in transition, and Hannah Grange made them pay with a corner 3. It was all part of a 23-10 run for Frank Phillips to close the period.
"This is all a process for us," Tandy said "Nothing is going to happen overnight. But the process starts with these girls gaining confidence as we go."
Frank Phillips opened up their largest lead of the day three minutes into the fourth when Grange drilled another 3 from the corner and split a pair of free throws to put the Plainsmen up 69-48.
Frank Phillips shot 46 percent for the game and was 10-of-23 from downtown. They outrebounded Garden City 44-25.
"That's something we really have to work on is rebounding the ball," Tandy explained.
Bellany paced the Broncbusters with 23 points, but missed 11 of her 17 shots. She was 5-of-15 from 3. Suarez-Tudela and Deborah Ford each tallied nine.
Next up: Garden City vs. Bethany, Sat., Nov. 2-2 p.m. tip (No Radio)