T-Birds rally from first-half deficit to win 65-61 over Garden City

Cloud County freshman guard Tiana Johnson had nine points and four assists in Wednesday's 65-61 win over Garden City
Cloud County freshman guard Tiana Johnson had nine points and four assists in Wednesday's 65-61 win over Garden City

CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College women's basketball team was in an unfamiliar position Wednesday night, trailing at the half for the first time this season in its home gym to Garden City Community College.

Cloud County quickly erased that 31-26 deficit, outscoring the Lady Broncbusters, 19-9, in the third quarter en route to a 65-61 victory inside Arley Bryant Gymnasium.

Rebounding keyed the comeback for the T-Birds (10-1 overall, 7-1 KJCCC). After being outrebounded 26-22 in the first half by Garden City (5-6 overall, 3-5 KJCCC) — including 12 offensive rebounds for 12 second-chance points — Cloud County dominated the glass over the final 20 minutes.

The T-Birds doubled up Garden City in the second half, winning the rebounding battle 24-12 while limiting the Lady Broncbusters to five offensive rebounds, none of which came during the third-quarter surge.

"Garden City is a good ball club with good size, good athleticism and quickness. That was certainly a hard fought battle and big win for us that we really needed," said Cloud County head coach, Brett Erkenbrack.

The T-Birds led by as many as 10 points with 3:03 remaining at 59-49, but had to withstand a late 12-3 run from Garden City that closed the gap to one at 62-61 with 23 seconds remaining.

The biggest rebound of the night came the ensuing possession, with Cloud County clinging to a 63-61 lead, as sophomore forward Kennedy Gay ripped down an offensive rebound off a missed free-throw attempt with 10 seconds left.

Gay's rebound set up two made free throws from freshman guard Carrie Davis with 6.2 seconds on the clock to push Cloud County's lead back to two possessions at 65-61.

"The offensive rebound at the end from Kennedy was huge," Erkenbrack said. "It was the ballgame, really."

Cloud County made its third-quarter run behind the freshman duo of Davis and forward Scout Frame, the reigning KJCCC DI Player of the Week, as they finished with 16 points and 19 points, respectively.

Frame, who recorded a career-high 14 rebounds in her second consecutive double-double, poured in 14 of her 19 points in the second half, while Davis had 10 second-half point and finished the night 7-of-12 from the floor with three rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes.

"(Camille Awa Baud) had foul trouble all night, so that provided a little more opportunity for Carrie and she's taken those minutes and run with them," Erkenbrack said. "She's a tremendous athlete. As far as getting out on the wings and taking the ball to the basket; I don't know if we have anyone better."

Davis and Frame were the lone T-Birds in double-figures Wednesday. The starting guard tandem of freshman Tiana Johnson and Kelsi Mueller each chipped in nine points, while Baud added eight points.

Cloud County will now look to close out the fall semester portion of its schedule on a high note when it travels to take on Butler Community College (6-5 overall, 3-5 KJCCC) at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

"We talk about maturity and all these things with our ball club and I think we've done a good job of mental preparation and being ready to play every single night to get to 10-1," Erkenbrack said. "I think our young ladies are very proud of what they've done to this point. Now it's time to get a little greedy, I think, to try and be the best we can be at the end of the semester and be 11-1. Depending on what else happens the rest of (Wednesday night) and Saturday, there is a possibility we're leading the conference if we go can down and win Saturday against Butler."