Lady Conqs to host Garden City

Things seemed to go from bad to worse for the Dodge City Community College women’s basketball team last week.

The Conquistadors had lost nine-straight games before having to forfeit a midweek matchup with Coffeyville because they could not field a full squad.

Reinforcements came in the form of four student-athletes who played other sports at Dodge City Community College. After a 79-39 loss in the new-look Conqs’ first outing last Saturday to Neosho, the Dodge City girls got the shot in the arm that they needed with a 71-68 win at Colby.

"It gave a lot of confidence to some of our new players and they were contributors," Dodge City head coach Zach Loll said. "Taylor Brannen gets a go-ahead bucket for us and a couple of big rebounds. Sada Smith is great on the defensive end and Mariah Watkins gives us a lot of energy. It was big for them and to go on the road in conference and get a win is good."

While four of the seven roster spots are being filled by newcomers, it was sophomore Alexus Johnson who willed the team to it’s first victory since December. Johnson scored 35 points on 12-of-24 shooting from the field.

Not only was it Johnson’s career high, but it came four days after a 1-of-18 shooting performance against Neosho.

"She hits some big shots and played well," Loll said. "Last Saturday my concern was with her and how she was going to play. She got frustrated early and struggled in the game but then the question is when that game is over with, can she put that game behind and bounce back and she bounced back."

Smith and Watkins joined the women’s basketball team after two years on the volleyball team in Dodge City. The two sophomores, who last played a basketball game in the winter of 2015 as seniors in high school, were intrigued by the opportunity to get back on the court.

With a full week of practice now under their belt, Smith feels like the adjustment is becoming smoother.

"It’s been challenging" Smith said. "Volleyball shape and basketball shape are completely different so we’re just catching up. It’s been a challenge but it’s been super fun."

For freshman Taylor Brannen and sophomore Christina Frick, joining the basketball team has turned the two into dual-sport athletes. Literally.

On the eve of Saturday afternoon’s game against Garden City, both Brannen and Frick were with the Dodge City women’s track and field team in Wichita competing in the Wichita State University Triangular track meet.

"We’ve got two running in a track meet so our walk through (Saturday) morning is going to be really important for us," Loll said.

The Conqs (4-18, 4-14) will try to win back-to-back games for the first time this season on Saturday afternoon when they host the Garden City Broncbusters. Garden City (7-15, 5-13) beat Dodge City 66-64 in the meeting earlier this season.

Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Dodge City Student Activities Center.