Hays, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-During their three-game winning streak, the Garden City boys made plenty of winning plays down the stretch.
But on Friday night vs. Hays, the Buffaloes once confident demeanor was overwhelmed by the Indians’ hot shooting.
Tyreese Hill poured in a career-high 18 points and 12 rebounds, his team shot 50 percent from the floor, and Hays used a third-quarter explosion to defeat Garden City 58-49 at Indians Field House.
“We didn’t do a lot of things right in the game,” Buffaloes Coach Jacy Holloway said afterwards. “And we missed a ton of easy looks.”
In Tuesday’s overtime win at Liberal, the Buffaloes shot 50 percent from the floor. Three days later, the rims in Hays were not as kind as Garden City connected on just 15-of-49 shots (31 percent).
“It was more than the shooting,” Holloway said. “But that didn’t help our cause.”
That poor shooting had the Buffaloes searching for answers early, as Hays (7-1, 2-1) built an 11-2 lead five minutes into the game. But as they’ve done so many times since the Christmas Break, Garden City (3-7, 2-1) fought back, scoring the final five points of the first to pull to within four.
That run continued into the second frame when Griff Brunson sank two free throws to make it a two-point contest. Then a technical foul on Clay Kyles led to two Garret Doll free throws followed up by Doll’s steal at half court and easy layup for a 17-16 Garden City advantage with 4:45 to go in the half.
“At that point we were doing the things that we needed to do,” Holloway said. “But we got away from that, and that’s why we lost.”
That lead lasted all of 30 seconds. Collyn Kreutzer connected on a jumper; Hill added a layup and Shane Berens nailed a free throw to push the Indians in front 21-17. Hays closed the half on a 12-5 run and had a 28-22 cushion at the break.
Things got away from the Buffaloes quickly in the third.
Hays scored the first 11 points of the second half fueled by back-to-back treys by Trae McCrae. In all, the Indians buried three triples in the quarter and outscored the Buffaloes 18-9 to take a 48-31 lead into the fourth.
“It’s amazing how quickly things got away from us,” Holloway said. “We were in it, and then all of the sudden we weren’t.”
The Buffaloes were just 3-of-15 from the field from in the third.
The Indians lead swelled to as many as 20 before Garden City made one final push in the fourth quarter.
Brunson’s three-point play with 2:32 left brought the Buffaloes back to within eight. After Doll hit a pair of free throws to make it 53-47, Garden City had a chance to pull to within one possession with just over two minutes to go. But Zac Karlin missed a wide-open 3-pointer from the left wing, and the Buffaloes committed a key turnover down the stretch.
On the other end, Hill, Kyles and Xander Swayne combined to go 5-of-6 from the line over the final 61 seconds, giving the Indians their sixth straight win over Garden City.
Doll scored 12 points for the Buffaloes, who lost for the first time since Dec. 10. Brunson added 12 and Karlin chipped in seven; although he missed 11 of his 14 shots.
Kyles scored seven points and pulled down six rebounds for Hays while Cole Murphy hit two, backbreaking 3’s; he finished with six.
Next up: Garden City vs. Topeka Seaman (Valley Center Tourney)-Thursday, Jan. 19-8:15 p.m. pregame; 8:30 p.m. on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and mobile app: KWKR
Hays, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-If there’s one thing that Garden City’s opponents have figured out during their first 10 games it’s this: speed the brown and white up.
On Friday night, the Indians pressure overwhelmed the Buffaloes.
Savannah Schneider scored a game-high 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting, the Indians forced 29 turnovers, and Hays blew past Garden City 50-35 at Indians Field House.
“I know I sound repetitive, but we are getting beat the same way,” Garden City Coach Matt Pfeifer explained. “We just keeping making the same silly mistakes, and they’re costing us.”
It was the seventh time this season that the Buffaloes turned it over 20 or more times. And boy did it cost them in this one.
Garden City (3-7, 0-3) gave it away seven times in the first quarter, fueling a 9-0 Indians run and a 19-7 lead. The Buffaloes responded with seven straight points to close to within five at the end of the first. It was one of a few highlights on the night for the brown and white.
After slow shooting starts in their previous two games, Hays (5-3, 1-2) came out on fire in the second quarter, hitting 7-of-13 shots. Eventually they built their lead to 14 on back-to-back baskets by Schneider, who scored six of the Indians 14 points in the period. Hays led 33-22 at the half.
“We will give you flashes of good play,” Pfeifer said. “But flashes aren’t enough. We go over press breakers at length in practice. But right now, it’s not showing in the games.”
But as big a killer as the turnovers were, Garden City could not overcome another bad shooting game. The Buffaloes missed 13 of their 36 shots and had two scoring droughts that stretched past four minutes. A 5:15 stretch in the first half helped the Indians build a double-digit lead before Garden City went scoreless the final 4:44 of the fourth quarter.
“Every game we have those stretches where we don’t score,” Pfeifer said. “It’s hard to overcome; especially when the other team is shooting well.”
Garden City was just 5-of-18 shooting in the second half. They had only two field goals in the fourth quarter.
Krya Bellows was the lone silver lining for the Buffaloes, scoring 12 points on 5-of-5 from the floor. She pulled down a team best seven rebounds. The rest of the squad combined to shoot 8-of-31 (26 percent).
Jaycee Dale netted eight points for Hays, who beat Garden City for a fourth straight time. Kallie Leiker added seven points and Maddie Keller had seven boards.
Next up: Garden City at Ulysses-Tuesday, January 17-6:45 p.m. pregame; 7 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app.