*Update: A previous version had an incorrect time down a the bottom for Saturday's games at Garden City*
The Dodge City Conquistadors women’s basketball team cruised to a victory Wednesday night, beating the Colby Trojans 83-53.
The game’s start-time was delayed 30 minutes due to travel complications for the Trojans.
Once the Trojans arrived, however, the night quickly became a 3-point shooting exhibition.
In the first quarter, the Conqs jumped out to an 8-2 lead but the Trojans fought back, cutting the lead to 15-14 near the end of the quarter. That’s when a barrage of 3’s started, with the last four made shots of the first quarter coming from 3’s. The Conqs led 21-20 at that point.
Dodge City put the game away in the second quarter, opening up with an 18-2 run that included back-to-back-to-back 3’s by freshman guard Addison Rowley.
Rowley had 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range in the first half alone Wednesday night, finishing the night overall with a game-high 21 points.
Freshman guard Taylor Lee had two 3’s and freshmen guards Rylee Burris and Amour’ee Morrison each had one in the first half as well.
All told Dodge City hit seven 3-pointers in the first two quarters Wednesday night.
Head coach Zach Loll said the team has been working and talking about getting better each day.
“The last two days in practice I focused on not letting them get complacent,” Loll said.
Since start the 2018 calendar-year with a five-game losing streak, the Conqs have bounced back. Wednesday’s win was their fourth in a row.
“It’s easy for an 18, 19-year old to fall into ‘Oh we’re good, we don’t need it’ and I thought we really worked hard, got after it the last couple of days in practice, worked on defense worked on getting some conditioning into things,” Loll said. “They weren’t real happy about some of it but they forget about it, especially when you get a W.”
The Conqs were also stronger on the boards than the Trojans Wednesday night, out-rebounding them 48-34.
“It’s just kinda everybody doing their part and that’s the things that we need to get out of girls, is the rebounding and sharing the ball,” Loll said.
Ball-movement was another strong part of the game for the Conqs.
Freshman guard Makaela Ewing had 10 points and five assists with four rebounds. Freshman guard Allie Baker had a game-high six assists. Freshman guard Alec Fitts tied Colby’s Kaitlyn Guillory for a game-high seven rebounds.
“I thought we moved the ball really well tonight, and that’s something we’ve worked on the last couple days in practice,” Loll said. “But again, we talk about rebounding, we talk about defense (and) are two of our keys to success, and those are things that we can control.”
The team tries to focus on things they can control, such as making passes or where the next pass needs to go, Loll said.
Overall, the ball-movement the Conqs used Wednesday night perhaps could be seen by the way Dodge City ended the game with 20 assists compared to just 10 by the Trojans.
“When you move the ball, I think it doesn’t sit in people’s hands,” Loll said. “When it’s moving like that and a shooter’s open, they don’t have time to think about whether or not make or miss, it’s just catch and shoot, and that’s what shooters have to do, they have to catch and shoot the basketball.”
Rowley was an example of a player who saw some extra work she put in pay off Wednesday.
“Addison has gotten in on the last couple of days and gotten a lot of extra work going on, and it paid off tonight, and not thinking about it but just catching and shooting the basketball,” Loll said. “Same thing Makaela Ewing, she’s aggressive in the post, and Amour’ee Morrison, she’s been putting in some extra work too.”
That extra work pays off, Loll said. Practice alone isn’t enough to help players improve.
“A lot of times when kids think that ‘well the hour and a half, two hours that I’m in practice, that’s good enough.’ That’s not good enough,” Loll said. “You might get 10 shots up in practice, maybe 40 or 50 if we’re working on shooting, but to be a shooter you’ve got to get a couple-hundred shots up every day so you stay in that rhythm.”
That means players need to spend extra time in the gym practicing.
“There’s girls that are gettin in and doing that and it’s gonna pay dividends for ‘em as we continue to move on each day,” Loll said.
The Conqs are head to Garden City to take on the Garden City Broncbusters.
The women’s game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m., with the men’s scheduled for 4 p.m.
*Editor’s note: My coverage tonight would normally include some reporting of the Conqs men’s game that follows most women’s games. Due to the game women’s game starting later because of the unforeseeable circumstances mentioned earlier in this article, however, we were not able to cover the men’s game Wednesday night.
My hope is to get a preview of this weekend’s games against Garden City done to run in Saturday’s paper and online Friday night, at which point I’ll go into detail about what happened in Wednesday night’s men’s game.*