By Mike Pilosof
Photo by Adam Shrimplin
Garden City, KS-Garden City couldn't overcome a slow start.
Syncere Harrod scored 11 points, Cymirah Williams pulled down 10 rebounds, and Butler beat Garden City, 49-40 in the opening round of the Region VI Tournament Saturday night at Conestoga Arena. The Broncbusters finished the season 18-12 overall and 13-11 in conference.
Garden City was 12-of-44 (27 percent) from the field and 0-for-8 from 3. They also missed nine of their 25 free throw attempts and turned the ball over 21 times.
This game was pretty much decided in the first quarter. The Broncbusters missed eight of their 10 shots in the period and gave the ball away five times. Meantime Butler scored 16 straight points, capped by Williams' midrange jumper to make it 16-2. Butler was up 16-4 after one.
It didn't get much better in the second.
Harrod got to the rim for two, Mallory Cowman nailed a line-drive shot; then completed a three-point play, and the Grizzlies had a 23-7 advantage. Moments later Williams swished two freebies, and Garden City was staring at a 15-point halftime deficit.
Butler built their lead to as many as 18 following Harrod's two free throws 90 seconds into the third. That's when the Broncbusters finally made their run.
Ashton McCorry canned two free throws; then hit a jumper in the paint, and Desiree Smith banked home a three-footer to pull the Broncbusters to within 11. They were down 13 going to the fourth before a 9-2 surge made it a six-point contest after Kealani Neves knocked down two free throws with 3:47 remaining. They never got any closer than that the rest of the way as Antwain Scales' team was limited to just one point over the final 2:17.
Butler, which advanced to play Independence in the second round on Tuesday, shot just 39 percent from the floor and won the game despite missing nine of their 16 free throw attempts. Kaylee Nero scored 10 points in 17 minutes off the bench, and Cameren Downs had five points, six assists, and three steals.
Neves paced the Broncbusters with 11 points but was just 3-of-13 from the field. McCorry totaled nine points, five rebounds and three teals in 23 minutes, and Smith had six points and a game-high 11 boards off the bench.