Valley Center, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-In a season that’s had its many ups and downs, one thing has been pretty consistent over the last few games: Garden City is becoming the new clutch city.
Demarcus Elliott scored 10 of his career-high 12 points in the second half, Garrett Doll added 12, and the Buffaloes erased a five-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Wichita Northwest 50-43 in the consolation championship game of the 2017 January Jam at Valley Center High School.
“It’s been nice,” Holloway said of his team’s late-game heroics. “We just keep working, and it’s been paying off.”
After trailing for most of the game, Garden City (5-8, 2-1) took their first lead when Zac Karlin knocked down a jumper to make it 26-25 Buffaloes with 5:57 to go in the third. But a 14-8 spurt by Wichita Northwest (4-8, 2-6) had the Grizzlies up 39-34 with 7:13 to go in the contest.
“Things weren’t really going our way,” Holloway explained. “But like we did on Friday, we just kept pushing back.”
And it all changed once the brown and white went back to the 3-2 zone.
That defense held the Grizzlies without a field goal for more than seven minutes in the fourth quarter while Elliott sparked Garden City by scoring six straight points to put the Buffaloes on top 44-39 with 2:23 to play.
“We tried to get Demarcus going early,” Holloway said. “He struggled with his first few shots, but he showed the confidence late in the game.”
Elliott was matched up with Grizzlies sensational post player Michael Duncan, who won the battle early on, scoring all seven of his points in the first half. But Elliott got the last laugh, holding Duncan scoreless over the final 16 minutes and converting a three-point play with 4:39 to go that gave Garden City the lead for good.
“He (Elliot) played really well,” Holloway said. “We see stretches like that from him. He missed some shots early in the game but really stayed with it.”
Wichita Northwest, who is coming off their fourth straight losing season-something that hasn’t happened since they had six under. 500 campaigns from 1986-1991, still had a chance in the waning seconds.
Trailing by six, Javin Dixon drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 46-43 with 18 ticks remaining. But Doll knocked down four straight free throws to give the Buffaloes their second straight victory and fifth in their last seven games.
“People will probably ask why we didn’t go to the zone earlier in the game,” Holloway said. “But it’s all about time and matchups. We felt it was the right time, and it paid off.”
Garden City won the game despite shooting under 40 percent for the fourth straight contest.
Karlin scored 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting for the Buffaloes. Jarrod Springston chipped in eight and Evan Allen-Mader splashed home six.
Dixon notched his second double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds for Wichita Northwest. Jalen Smith tallied 12 points.
Next up: Garden City at Ulysses-Tuesday, January 24-7:45 p.m. pregame; 8 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and mobile app: KWKR