DCCC women mount furious comeback but fall short to Busters

DODGE CITY - Just when it looked like the rout was on, the Dodge City Community College women’s basketball team began chipping their way into Garden City’s 24-point lead on Saturday afternoon.

A jump shot from sophomore guard Kavita Akula put the Broncbusters up 48-24 with 7:19 to play in the third quarter. The Conquistadors outscored Garden City 39-18 over the following 17 minutes to make it a 3-point game with 22 seconds to play but it was too little too late for Dodge City as the Broncbusters held on for the 68-63 win.

A large part of the Conqs run was made without leading scorer Alexus Johnson in the game. After picking up a technical foul late in the third quarter, Johnson never entered back into the game. The sophomore guard still led all scorers with 20 points, 16 of which came in the first half.

"When you have a dominant scorer on your team, you see it all the time, sometimes when you take that dominant scorer off, you find ways for other people to get involved and sometimes play a little bit better," Garden City head coach Nick Salazar said. "I think that was one of those cases. I don’t know if I’m thankful or not that (Dodge City head coach Zach Loll) held (Johnson) out in the fourth quarter."

An 8-0 run by Dodge City that followed a 3-pointer from Garden City sophomore Leon’Dra Hawkins cut brought the Conqs to within one shot of tying the game. After the 3-pointer from sophomore Mariah Watkins brought Dodge City within striking distance with 22 seconds left, Garden City’s Monica Barefield helped the Busters escape with win by making a pair of free throws.

The Conqs made 17-of-36 shots from the field in the second half after struggling to shoot before the halftime break.

"There wasn’t quite enough time for us but that’s alright," Loll said. "Our kids played hard and left it all on the floor. They have nothing to be disappointed in."

Dodge City, which was playing its third game since overhauling its roster, had 31 of its 63 points scored by newcomers, 16 of which came from sophomore Sada Smith.

"Confidence for me increases after every game but especially after a game like that," Smith said. "The team at the beginning of the season only lost by two (to Garden City) and for us to come out and lose by (five), the confidence builds up and we know that we can come out and win games."

The Conqs will host Butler on Wednesday while the Busters take on Hutchinson.

Dodge City - 14 6 21 22 - 63

Garden City - 20 18 17 13 - 68

Garden City (8-15, 6-13) - Hawkins 4-16 1-1 11, Aluka 3-12 3-4 10, Lewis 5-10 4-8 14, Carrillo 3-5 0-0 6, Barefield 4-12 4-4 14, Hinde 1-2 2-4 4, Duhart 0-0 0-0 0, Muir 0-3 0-0 0, Besecker 3-6 0-0 9. 23-66 14-21 68.

Dodge City (4-19, 4-15) - Ortiz 3-11 0-2 8, Watkins 2-11 0-0 6, 4-14 1-2 9, Johnson 5-14 8-8 20, Hoffman 1-5 2-2 4, Smith 7-15 2-4 16, Frick 0-3 0-0 0. 22-73 13-18 63.