Lady T-Birds lose in double overtime

GARDEN CITY — Running out of players and out of gas, the Cloud County Thunderbirds were outscored 15-7 in the second overtime in a 76-68 Jayhawk Conference Western Division loss to 16th-ranked Garden City on Saturday night.
Sophomore Aleesha Coulter knocked down three-point shots late in the second half and in the final seconds of the first overtime to keep Cloud County alive in the game.
Coulter then fouled out in the second overtime, and joined teammates Pearlrae Thomas and Kamika Mason on the bench.
Led by Tamara Jones, Garden City put up 15 points in the second extra period, and limited the T-Birds to seven to get the win.
“We had some empty possessions, and broke down a couple of times defensively,” Cloud County coach Brett Erkenbrack said.
The loss drops Cloud County, now 19-8 overall, to 9-4 in the Jayhawk West and tied for fourth place with Butler County.
Garden City, 25-3 overall, is 11-3 and in second place in the West.
The two teams missed a total of 109 shots combined in the game, including 89 field goal attempts and 20 free throws.
Garden City was just 6 of 31 from the floor in the first half, and Cloud County was 6 of 19, and led 19-16.
“Both teams played poorly,” Erkenbrack said, “I wouldn’t have expected it to be such a poorly played game because it was an important game for both teams.”
Cloud County, playing a third game in six days, would lead by as many as seven points in the second half.
Garden City battled back to within a point late in regulation.
“The two things that have gotten us all year, missed free throws and unnecessary turnovers,” Erkenbrack said.
Cloud County finished 21 of 34 from the line, but had some key misses in the second half.
With Garden City trailing by a point, and the shot clock winding down, Jones hit a guarded three to give the Broncbusters a two-point lead with under a minute to play.
Garden City led 54-51 when Coulter hit a three to tie the game with 12.5 seconds on the clock.
The Broncbusters had a shot to win the game, but it was blocked by Kamika Mason.
Limited to four points in the first four plus minutes of the first overtime, Cloud County fell behind 61-58.
Another three by Coulter pulled the T-Birds even with the Broncbusters.
Garden City got up two shots in the final seconds of the extra period, but neither would fall, and the game went to a second overtime.
Jones and the Broncbusters controlled the second extra period. She finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds.
“Tamara Jones took over the last few minutes of the game, and both overtimes, and we allowed it to happen,” Erkenbrack said.
Thomas scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds for Cloud County before fouling out.
Megan Stagner came off the bench to score 13 points. She hit four of five field goal attempts, including two of two threes.
“We had real good play and production from Megan Stagner,” Erkenbrack said.
Jordan Alexander finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Deni Jacobs scored 15 points for Garden City.
Tahlia Pope and Mikell Chinn had 13 points each.
Cloud County hosts Butler County on Wednesday night.

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