Dodge City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Back in December, the Garden City boys were 0-6 and left for dead. Three months later, one of the greatest, single-season resurrection stories is still being written.
By season’s end, it may turn into a New York Times best seller.
Zac Karlin scored 11 points, Jarrod Springston added 10, and the Buffaloes reached .500 for the first time this season with a 43-36 victory over Dodge City at the Fieldhouse.
“We feel a lot better now than we did when we first started,” Garden City Coach Jacy Holloway said. “I mean, 9-9 still isn’t great, but we have come a long way.”
So much so that the memory of starting with six straight losses to begin a season for the first time since 1975 has been washed away with one of the more remarkable in-season turnarounds in recent memory. And they made more history again on Tuesday night.
With the win, Garden City (9-9, 4-1) completed their first season sweep of Dodge City (3-14, 1-4) since 1991.
“Dodge has always been a thorn in our side,” Holloway admitted. “They’re very well coached, and always have a good team. We just made plays tonight.”
Similar to the first time the two teams met 20 days ago, the game went back and forth in the first half with six lead changes and five ties. The Red Demons grabbed a 3-point edge late in the first period before Tye Davis nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to even the score.
“I thought our second unit played really well,” Holloway said. “We have a little more depth than most people realize.”
Dodge City used a 5-0 spurt two minutes into the second quarter when Justin Schowengerdt converted a layup and Adrian Mendoza nailed a trey to make it 18-14 Red Demons. But Garden City responded swiftly; Karlin drilled two triples and Demarcus Elliott hit a driving layup that put the Buffaloes on top 22-18.
“I thought Demarcus was really active in the first half,” Holloway said. “He was hitting his shots, but his presence was felt more on the defensive end.”
Leading by two going into the third, Garden City went for the kill. Karlin completed a three-point play before Evan Allen-Mader’s layup stretched the advantage to nine with 1:49 to go in the frame.
But like they did on Jan. 31, the Red Demons refused to go quietly.
Luke Gleason hit a long 2-pointer, Noah Sowers hit 1-of-2 free throws and added a layup off a steal, Mendoza canned his second three-pointer, and Sanchez hit a reverse to pull Dodge City to within three with 2:05 remaining. Garden City then left the door slightly cracked by missing four free throws in the final 48 seconds. But back-to-back offensive rebounds by Karlin following missed freebies by Griff Brunson and Garrett Doll took precious seconds off the clock. Then Elliott finished off the Red Demons with a steal in the final 30 seconds, giving the Buffaloes their first win in Dodge City in more than a decade.
Elliott finished the night with six points on 3-of-3 shooting for Garden City, who improved to 8-3 since the Christmas break. Brunson added five points and six assists.
Mendoza scored nine points to pace Dodge City, who lost for the 10th time in their last 11 games. Hunter Heath and Sowers each added seven.
Garden City vs. Hays-Friday, Feb. 17-7:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app
Dodge City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-When Dodge City and Garden City hooked up nearly three weeks ago, the Red Demons were far from being at full strength. In fact, they were without one of their top scorers in Kayln Maple.
Well Maple made her triumphant return on Tuesday night, and she made her presence felt early and often.
Tit Bradshaw tallied 18 points and nine rebounds, Maple added 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, and Dodge City raced to a 49-29 victory over Garden City at the Fieldhouse.
“We played team basketball,” Red Demons Coach Kelly Snodgrass said afterwards. “And our defense allowed us to get out in transition.”
And it was Snodgrass’s attention to detail that helped her squad wipe away an early four-point deficit.
Trailing 9-5 with 4:20 left in the first, the Red Demons switched from a man-to-man to a zone; sometimes going into a 1-2-2 and at other times a 2-3. Both stymied the Buffaloes and allowed Dodge City (5-12, 1-4) to take full control of the game.
The Red Demons scored 12 straight points, and held Garden City (5-13, 1-5) scoreless over the next 6:50, building their lead to 17-9 midway through the second quarter.
“They adjusted and we never did,” Garden City Coach Matt Pfeifer said. “That was the biggest difference in this game.
The Buffaloes were held without a field goal the entire second quarter and scored just three points. In fact, they went 18:20 without hitting a shot before Josie Calzonetti’s three-point play late in the third quarter finally ended that drought.
“It’s frustrating to sit on the bench and see us attacking early and then go away from it,” Pfeifer said. “That’s exactly what happened.”
In all, the Red Demons hit 6 of their first 12 shots from the field as Bradshaw netted 11 first-quarter points. They led 24-12 at the break.
“People have told me so many times that we look so good for stretches,” Pfeifer said. “But stretches won’t get you wins. That level of consistency has to stick, and to this point, it hasn’t.”
Bradshaw’s 3-point play followed by Chidera Okoro’s free throw early in the third, capped a 9-0 run that gave Dodge City a 16-point lead. They eventually pushed that to as many as 22 late in the fourth.
“It feels good to have some of our pieces back,” Snodgrass said. “But it’s still a process.”
Dodge City was 10-of-19 shooting in the second half. They drilled seven 3-pointers, the most allowed by Garden City this season.
“I think we gave them too much,” Pfeifer said. “But like everything else, it’s a learning experience.”
Nelson, who missed a couple of games because of an ankle injury, scored six points on 3-of-11 from the field for Dodge City, who snapped a five-game losing streak. Madison Armstrong tallied five points.
Calzonetti led Garden City with nine points and six points. Abbie Dart scored five, but was just 1-of-11 from the floor.
Next up: Garden City vs. Hays-Friday, Feb. 17-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app
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