By Greta Klein
The fifth-ranked Hutchinson Blue Dragons took down the Garden City Broncbusters 73-56 to end the first half of the Jayhawk Conference schedule on Saturday at the Sports Arena.
The Blue Dragons came in with a 17-game winning streak, and remained undefeated at 17-0 overall and 11-0 in the Jayhawk Conference.
Garden City had been struggling in their last four games, as the Broncbusters were 10-6 and 5-6 in the conference.
From the tipoff, the game was physically demanding of both teams. Garden City scored the first four points of the game.
By the end of the first quarter the Blue Dragons were down 13-9. That was the only quarter Hutch was out scored.
“Garden City played extremely well to start the game,” Blue Dragons coach John Ontjes said. “They are a team who are very aggressive. They do a great job of getting downhill and it took us the better part of the first half to be able to adjust to the quickness and speed.”
Early in the second quarter, Hutch starts to put pressure on Garden City as they close the scoring gap to one point. The Blue Dragons took their first lead of the game at the 7:02 mark when sophomore forward Bree Horyna started Hutch’s offensive explosion.
After the game, Horyna talked about her experience growing up in a Kansas basketball family. Katie, Horyna’s sister, is a senior at Emporia State.
“I just kept working,” Horyna said. “Me and my sister have pushed each other to compete at a higher level. So she really has helped me get to where I’m at now.”
Throughout the rest of the second quarter, Hutch and Garden City battled as the lead was only a single possession at a time.
Despite the offensive woes for the Blue Dragons, Hutch led at halftime, 25-24.
“Our execution was better,” Ontjes said. “Our transition basketball was better. We turned it over way too much in the first half.”
In the second half, the Blue Dragons left the Broncbusters in the dust as Hutch out scored Garden City, 48-32.
Leading the charge was Horyna, along with forwards Monae Duffy and Madi Denison, and guard Kiki Smith to lead them to a 31-point third quarter.
In the fourth quarter the Blue Dragons just had to make stops on defense.
“No matter what our opponents conference standing is, we need to find consistency of not being complacent and not getting too comfortable playing with them,” Duffy said. “Every game is a battle, we will not have perfect games but we strive as a team to get better and find that consistency that we are capable of.”
The Blue Dragons continue their undefeated season as they move to 18-0, and 12-0 in the Jayhawk Conference. Hutch will face off against the Dodge City Conquistadors at 5:30 on Saturday at the Sports Arena.