Hays, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Just minutes after Friday night’s loss to No. 7 Olathe North, Garden City Coach Jacy Holloway worried about an emotional letdown. After all, his team had overcome a 19-point deficit to tie the game in the waning seconds only to have a foul and free throws decide it in the end.
“It’s something you always worry about,” Holloway said. “It’s natural.”
To Holloway’s credit, his team fought through the mental side of things on Saturday. Jared Koster drilled three more 3-pointers and finished with 17 points, and Luis Rodriguez added 10 points and five blocks as the Buffaloes pulled away late to beat Great Bend 41-30 in the third-place game of the 31st annual Hays Shootout at Indians’ Field House.
“Jared was good, but his intensity level still needs to be higher,” Holloway said. “Luis is our best rim protector, and he showed that in this game. He (Rodriguez) wasn’t healthy last year; now he is and you’re seeing it.”
Between Koster’s efficient 5-of-11 shooting and Rodriguez swatting shots, the Buffaloes built an early 11-point advantage. But if there is anything that Great Bend Coach Chris Battain took away from last year’s victory over Garden City in February, is that the Buffs struggle against the zone.
That 2-3 zone forced a stalemate in the third and allowed the Panthers to get back into the game-cutting the Garden City lead to just two 29-27 following Blake Sullivan’s three-point play with 5:30 remaining.
“They’re (Great Bend) a much better team than they were a year ago,” Holloway said afterwards. “It’s just a different style of game going from a pressure, half-court man-to-man defense to them zoning us.”
The Buffaloes responded promptly when Caleb Tramp, who definitely came back down to earth following his 29 point, 10 rebound performance on Friday; hit a step-back trey to stretch the lead to five. That bucket fueled a 12-3 run to end the game.
“He’s (Tramp) still dealing with that ankle,” Holloway explained. “He didn’t have quite the adrenaline rush in this game as he did yesterday. But he still made plays.”
Trey Ibarra led the Panthers with 11 points. Sophomore Kody Crosby, who torched the Buffaloes for 28 in Great Bend’s upset win last season, was held to just eight points on 3-of-9 from the field.
Next up: Garden City vs. Pueblo East-Thursday, December 11-7:45 p.m. on 99.9 FM; kwkrmobile.com and mobile app: KWKR
Scoring lull; Great Bend takes down Lady Buffs
Hays, KS-The last couple of seasons, when David Upton’s team needed a bucket late, they could turn to Taryn Tempel or Jaymie Bernbeck. The eighth-year Head Coach isn’t afforded that luxury in 2014.
Regan Unruh netted a game-high 15 points and Lauren Welsch added a game-best eight rebounds as Great Bend gimped to the finish line with a 45-37 victory over the Buffaloes Saturday afternoon in the third-place game of the 31st annual Hays Shootout at Indians Field House.
“We need to find a leader,” Upton said afterwards. “We don’t have that vocal leader on that team; so we’re still searching for it. It’s tough.”
The shooting woes that plagued Garden City on Friday against Newton reared its ugly head once again. Garden City (1-2) was 5-of-29 from the field and 1-of-11 from downtown in the first half. They finished the game a pedestrian 12-of-48 and 4-of-21 from the land of 3.
“We just have to keep shooting,” Upton said. “That’s all you can do.”
Sophomore Abbie Dart, who’s been dealing with her own shooting woes, was just 2-of-9, while Jessica Hind missed six of her seven shots. In fact, the only Lady Buffalo who shot over 50 percent was Breece Dreiling (3-of-6).
The game went back-and-forth for the first 10 minutes, with Dreiling’s baseline jumper tying it up at 11 early in the second quarter. That was the last of three ties in the game. Moments later, Jessica Carillo picked up her third foul, and Carly Boyd followed suit with two free throws. The Lady Panthers (2-1) never relinquished the lead after that and closed the half on a 17-9 run.
Great Bend shot just 30 percent from the field but offset that poor mark by hitting 18-of25 from the line.
“There were so many fouls in this game, you couldn’t establish any rhythm either way,” Upton said.
Garden City fired up 10 less charity shots-going 9-of-15 from the stripe.
Dreiling was the lone Buffalo in double figures with 10 points. Dart, Hinde and Carillo each scored five.
Next up: Garden City vs. Pueblo East-Thursday, December 11-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; kwkrmobile.com and mobile app: KWKR