Hastings College

Hastings College held College of St. Mary's Alyssa Marsh-Contreras to single digit scoring through three quarters.

But the Broncos couldn't hush the reigning Great Plains Athletic Conference player of the week in the fourth.

Marsh-Contreras, a transfer from Peru State, scored 10 of her team-high 17 points in the final 10 minutes, including the final three in the Flames' 75-72 victory Tuesday night at Lynn Farrell Arena.

"She's a really good player, obviously," said Hastings coach Jina Douglas. "When they got her as a transfer, I think probably the whole league was like 'Uh oh.' But she's very heady, has a lot of game to her and just kind of took over late in the game. And that's what good players do."

Marsh-Contreras' uncontested floater in the lane put the Flames up 74-72 with 19.4 seconds left.

HC's inbound play to Taylor Beacom was snuffed out, but Beacom dished to Katharine Hamburger, who was open in the lane with a path to the hoop.

Hamburger's layup rimmed out and Marsh-Contreras was put on the line.

She sunk 1 of 2 free throws with 11.2 seconds remaining.

Hastings freshman Riley Clavel turned the ball over upon crossing half court, but the ball found its way back to her for a last-second 3-point try.

Clavel was bombarded by CSM defenders at the buzzer. Her shot never made it close. A foul was not called.

But the game was decided before then.

It was all but finalized with each of the Broncos' nine fourth quarter turnovers, which shrunk the sizable margin they held in the category all game (17 to 6 at halftime).

"When we started turning it over, we couldn't stop turning it over," Douglas said. 

With 3:34 to go, HC led 69-62, but a string of three turnovers pulled the Flames within one.

Leading 72-70, the Broncos coughed the ball up once more and Madelyn Turner tied it with 58 seconds left.

Marsh-Contreras' last trio of points were a mere formality.

Again this young season, HC failed to finish a game it led by double-digits. Only this time it counts as a loss. The Broncos eked out wins against Ottawa and Doane after squandering big leads.

"I think that's been that way in about three of our games this year," Douglas said. "The other two — I don't want to say we were lucky — we were just good enough to win.

"Tonight, we weren't."

The Broncos led 15-3 out of the gate behind a pair of 3-pointers from Allie Bauer, and another from Clavel.

College of St. Mary closed to 22-17 by quarter's end, then led for the first time three minutes into the seconds. 

Hastings trailed 37-36 at the half.

Then senior Ali Smith poured in 11 of her game-high 24 points in the third to give the Broncos a 58-57 lead heading for the fourth.

Smith, who finished 8-of-15 from the floor and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, tacked on nine more points in the final frame.

"She played really well," Douglas said. "She was feeling it and gave us that big lead to start (the fourth)."

Douglas regrets not changing out Smith and Beacom, her two seniors, in the fourth quarter to recharge for a final push.

"They were both playing well so we kind of went with it, and I think they got a little tired towards the ends," Douglas said.

Beacom ended with 12 points. Of the nine scorers, Beacom and Smith were the only Broncos in double figures.

Honnah Leo added 11 and Jada Scott 10 for the Flames, who leveled their conference record to 2-2 and improved to 8-2 overall.

HC, which travels to Bellevue on Nov. 29, slipped to 6-2, 2-1.