Garden City erases double-digit deficit to beat Otero on the road
La Junta, CO-It's an extremely small sample size, but the early returns on Greg Franklin's team are pretty impressive.
"I'm proud of these girls, especially considering how many minutes they played on back-to-back nights," Franklin said.
Ana Ramos Pires added 16 points for Garden City, which improved to 2-0 for a third consecutive season.
"The girls fought better than I coached," Franklin said with a smile.
A night after missing 13 free throws, the Broncbusters finished 29-of-37 (78 percent) from the line. But they did turn the ball over 25 times and shot just 32 percent.
"It wasn't pretty, but you don't complain when you win," Franklin added. "There are going to be games that we drop early on, but we will get things right by December."
Jennifer Jaramillo slipped free for a layup, Sharneal Polk drove the baseline for two, and Nyla Owens rattled home a pair of free throws to put Otero up, 40-27 with 7:05 remaining in the third.
"We definitely didn't make it easy on ourselves," Franklin admitted.
Garden City, which played a good portion of the second half without Driessen, who picked up her fourth foul midway through the third, stormed back, closing the quarter on a 15-2 run capped by Sariah Conley's transition layup and and Stevi Yancy's drive and finish that put the Broncbusters up, 45-42 going to the fourth.
"You learn things about your team as you go through a season, and I've said it all along, we are going to battle every night," Franklin said.
After missing a point-blank layup, Driessen redeemed herself once she stole the ball in the backcourt; then slipped a pocket pass to Opal Hardy, who banked home a two-footer to give Garden City a 50-48 advantage with 6:11 remaining in the fourth. It was the freshman's lone bucket of the night.
"We have to learn to limit our mistakes," Franklin said. "Because there isn't a lot of margin for error because of our numbers."
Once Otero responded with five straight points, Conley provided a big answer on the other end, beating both Anna Cera Curiel and Hedda Kohne to the rim for an off-balance layup that pulled the visitors to within one. On the Broncbusters ensuing possession, Pires used a beautiful spin move before finishing with a pretty left-handed floater to give Garden City a 54-53 lead with 3:47 to play. After Owens 21-footer rattled out for Otero, Yancy buried two free throws to put the Broncbusters up three.
"It's a good win, but we have so many things to clean up," Franklin added.
Pires and Moultie, who each played 40 minutes, combined to go 14-of-20 at the line for Garden City. Pires added seven rebound and two steals.
Gia Bradley paced the Rattlers with 18 points, and Katia Nekic had 14 on 5-of-12 shooting.