Busters hand CCCC 71-60 loss at home
Unable to hold serve at home, the Cloud County Thunderbirds put themselves in a position of trying to play catchup in the Jayhawk Conference Western Division.
Cloud County, shooting just 27 percent (17 of 64) from the field, fell 71-60 to Garden City Community College in a conference game Saturday night in Bryant Gymnasium.
It was the second straight loss for the T-Birds, 12-8 overall, and drops them to 3-2 in the Jayhawk West.
Hutchinson, at 5-0, leads the conference, and Seward County is second at 4-1.
Cloud County is tied for third with Garden City.
“It puts us in a real bind in the conference. We can't afford to lose any at home, and we did,” Cloud County coach Brett Erkenbrack.
The T-Birds struggled shooting the ball against Garden City from the outset.
Cloud County was just 5 of 30 from three-point range for 17 percent.
“We didn't have any perimeter play all night. We took a lot of quick threes which I don't think we were ready to shoot,” Erkenbrack said.
Garden City, taking advantage of the T-Birds' cold shooting, scored the first three points of the game, and never trailed.
The Broncbusters would open up a 28-16 lead when Jasmine Christmas hit a short jumper with 2:19 to play in the first half.
Cloud County got a follow by Courtney Fisher, a three-point play by Kiara McCall, a free throw by Raneisha Duncan, a bucket by Fisher following a McCall steal, and then two free throws by Fisher to close the gap to 28-26 in the final seconds of the first half.
“We really didn't do anything from beginning to end except for Kiara McCall singlehandedly getting us back into the game,” Erkenbrack said.
Ashlynd Horton connected on her only field goal attempt of the game, a three, as time ran out in the first half to give Garden City a 31-26 halftime lead.
Garden City (11-9) got a basket by Sandra Davis early in the second half to open up a 33-26 advantage.
Davis led all scorers with 20 points. She was 10 of 12 from the field.
Baskets by Fisher and Duncan and a two free throws by Jordyn Alexander pulled Cloud County within a point, 33-32.
Davis scored inside, but the T-Birds answered with a basket by Jayna Smith.
After Davis hit a jumper, Alexander made two free throws, and Cloud County trailed just 37-36 with 14:09 remaining in the game.
Things then came unraveled for the T-Birds.
Cloud County went 6:44 without scoring as Garden City pumped in 15 unanswered points to open up a 52-36 lead.
“We missed open shots and then we didn't defend on the other end,” Erkenbrack said.
Garden City would stretch the lead to 18 points, 64-46.
Cloud County, trailing 66-49, made one final push.
Using full-court pressure to force Garden City into turnovers, the T-Birds scored seven points, all from the free throw line, in 1:28 to close the gap to 66-56.
But with under a minute to play, the T-Birds couldn't chase down the Broncbusters.
“If we could have hit some of those open threes we still had a chance at it,” Erkenbrack said.
Alexander led four T-Birds in double figures with 14 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Duncan scored 11 points for the T-Birds.
Fisher and Smith added 10 points each.
Christmas and Loysha Morris scored 11 points each for Garden City.
Cloud County plays at Seward County on Wednesday night.
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