BY KEVIN PRICE
The Barton Community College women’s basketball team forced 27 turnovers against Garden City on its way to a 69-55 win on Thursday night at Kirkman Athletic Center.
With the win, Barton improves to 17-9 overall, 9-3 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Western Division. Garden City falls to 13-12 overall, 3-8 in the KJCCC West.
Butler, which began the night in second place in the KJCCC West, dropped its game against Hutchinson, allowing the Cougars to move up.
“It’s good," Barton head coach Keith Ferguson said of overtaking Butler in the standings. "Our kids have played well, but we still got four games left. It’s a four-game season now, and we can’t be happy with where we’re at. We have to be happy with where we finish.”
Shea Shoemaker came out of the gates and hit a 3-pointer to start the game for the Cougars. She finished the game 3 for 4 from beyond the arc.
Shoemaker’s trey began a 9-3 run, capped by a Christina Caddy 3-pointer, that gave the Cougars a 9-5 lead.
The Lady Broncbusters’ Kylee Simmons hit a jumper to make it 9-7.
The Cougars responded with a two-minute 10-0 run that began with a pair of three-point plays converted by Alisha Fanshier and Shoemaker.
“We did a much better job rebounding the ball than last game,” Ferguson said. “It still wasn’t good. We held on to the ball a lot better. Our kids, for struggling a little bit offensively, we did some really good things being patient and attacking the rim a lot, which got us to the free throw lines. Our kids did a nice job going down hill and going at the rim.”
Shoemaker, who finished the first half with 11 points, scored another two from the field at the 12:36 mark, and Raven Adams, who sat out Monday’s game with a sprained wrist, stole the ball and raced to the hoop for an easy layup.
“Shea (Shoemaker) had 11 (in the first half),” Ferguson said. “She was really aggressive in those first 10 minutes, and then at times she was aggressive. That first 10 minutes was as well as she’s played this year, and that’s the Shea we want to see. She did a nice job, and she did a little bit better job rebounding the basketball. We need to see that out of her a little more. She needs to take some of the scoring load off of Christina and Alisha, and when Dionne (Harris) and Netanya (Jackson) struggle, she’s got to step up.”
However, the Lady Broncbusters rumbled back going on an 8-2 run to make it 21-16 and a 9-2 run to close the gap to 26-25 with a 1:20 remaining.
Garden City was led by Ashley Walker, who hit three 3-pointers on her way to 11 points in the final 10 minutes of the first half and a game-high 21 points to keep the Lady Broncbusters within four.
Barton went to the locker room at halftime with a 32-28 lead.
The Cougars broke out in the second half on a 11-3 run that saw Fanshier, who finished with 16 points in the game, convert a second three-point play, raising Barton to a 43-33 lead.
Fanshier missed a second Barton record by one in the game, sinking all 10 of her free throws. The record for most consecutive free throws in a game for Barton was set by Tami Cornelson in 1996, hitting 11 for 11 in a game. Wendy Okeson matched the record in 1998.
“She needed one more free throw,” Ferguson said of Fanshier’s second brush with Barton history. “If she had held onto the ball at the end and not turned it over those three times, I think she would have been fouled. Not one shot she took was a bad shot. Especially since she got to the line that much. They were going at the rim and that’s ok. She did a nice job tonight.
“She struggled taking care of the ball in the last minute, but she did a nice job stepping up and making the easy plays. She helped us out a lot.”
Netanya Jackson went to work beneath the basket scoring four points to bump the Cougars up to 49-37, but she found herself in foul trouble and eventually fouled out of the game. Not before scoring seven points and grabbing five rebounds, a team-high shared by Shoemaker, Caddy, Fanshier, Adams and Dionne Harris.
“We had a bunch of kids in foul trouble,” Ferguson said. “I had a bunch of kids, Christina and Shea, Netanya and Dionne all got in foul trouble, but they played smart. I thought they played a lot smarter than the last time we played (Garden City). They didn’t try to block shots and go for too many steals. They just played the solid, and because they played solid, they were able to stay in the game and get rebounds.”
In the final two minutes of the game, Garden City went to a full court press to try to force turnovers. The press created an 8-0 run, closing the Lady Broncbusters to 63-55 with a 1:06 remaining on the clock.
Caddy, who finished with a team-leading 20 points, was fouled with 1:03 left. She hit both free throws.
Shoemaker, who tied Fanshier with 16 points in the game, went to the line on the following Barton possession, hitting the first of two free throws, and Caddy sank a 3 in the final seconds to finish the game.