Johnson and Thomas star in Broncbuster men’s win; women’s comeback falls short

 

Concordia, KS-There were never any doubts that Jamir Thomas could score. After all, he posted more than a 1,000 points during his career at Passaic High School in New Jersey. It was his defense that needed to improve.

On Wednesday night on the road, Thomas flashed the entire repertoire on both ends of the floor. And it was breathtaking to watch at times.

Thomas scored 16 points, pulled down seven rebounds and swatted four shots, Pierre Johnson tallied a career-best 20 points, and Garden City beat Cloud County 77-67 at Arley Bryant Gymnasium.

“We are still working with Jamir on a few things,” Broncbusters Coach Brady Trenkle said. “His offense was really good all night, and his defense got better in the second half.”

The combination of Thomas and Johnson was definitely lethal, as the two combined to go 13-of-20 from the field. Johnson added a season-high three 3’s, and the Broncbusters never trailed in the game.

“I like all the people that said that Pierre couldn’t shoot,” Trenkle said. “You know who you are. But he’s such a good player, and such a good leader.”

But it was Thomas that got Garden City (9-3, 5-3) going early on, scoring the Broncbusters’ first eight points as the brown and gold built an 8-2 advantage. When Cloud County (3-8, 1-7) fought back to make it a one-point contest with 5:24 left in the period, it was Johnson that kept the Thunderbirds at arm’s length. The transfer from Seward County scored seven straight points including a step back 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:35 to go that put Garden City up six. The Broncbusters led by three at the break.

“I’m so glad that he (Johnson) is on our side this year,” Trenkle said. “We value his leadership.”

With the game still teetering in the second half once Cloud County trimmed the Broncbusters nine-point advantage to four on the back of JaVary Christmas’s trey from the top of the key with 7:31 on the clock, Thomas and Johnson would put the finishing touches on Garden City’s fourth road-win of the season.

On one end it was Jeff Otchere blocking Alvin Thompson’s layup attempt at the rim; on the other, it was Johnson setting up a trailing Thomas for a tomahawk slam that put Garden City up eight. Moments later, Johnson exploded by Jerome Kidd Jr. and scored with a left-handed layup to push the lead to 10. Thenn Thomas added a free throw, Kendale Hampton completed a three-point play, Johnson finished off his own and-1, and Thomas threw down his second dunk of the second half as the lead swelled to 16 with 1:27 remaining.

“This is a really good road win against a young, athletic team like Cloud County,” Trenkle said. “Jordan (Altman) is doing a really good job here.”

Of course Altman knows the Broncbusters all too well, serving as Trenkle’s assistant the past two years.

“They (Cloud County) already beat Hutchinson when they were No. 1 this year,” Trenkle added.

Garden City owned the paint on this night, outscoring the Thunderbirds 44-28 in the lane. Their second unit was big as well, holding a 26-18 edge, and Trenkle’s bunch won the battle on the glass against the conference’s fifth-best rebounding team 43-42.

Elvis Harvey added 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting for Garden City, who won in Concordia for the first time since 2016. Hampton scored 15 points off the bench on 4-of-7 from the field and Otchere tallied seven points and four blocks.

Ramion Burt paced the Thunderbirds with 16 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Christmas added 16 off the bench, and Thompson scored 12.

Next up: Garden City vs. Pratt-Saturday, Dec. 9-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 98.1 FM; westernkansasnews.com/z98 and KSKZ mobile app

 

Women

Concordia, KS-Garden City first-year Head Coach Charinee Mitchell takes little stock in moral victories, even after her team went toe-to-toe with perennial power Hutchinson on Saturday.

On Wednesday, the Broncbusters drew the second-best team in the conference. And despite outplaying the Thunderbirds for most of the night, Garden City suffered a similar fate.

Scoutt Frame posted her third double-double of the season with 19 points and 14 rebounds, Carrie Davis scored 16 off the bench including two clinching free throws late, and Cloud County stormed back to beat Garden City 65-61 at Arley Bryant Gymnasium.

“We are still learning about a lot of things,” Mitchell said. “It’s not just one thing; there are a lot of things that has to happen. Right now, things are still a bit off.”

Playing shorthanded again, Garden City ( was the aggressor early. An 8-1 run capped by Jada Washington’s dazzling layup put the Broncbusters (5-6, 3-5) up 8-4, four minutes into the opening period. Eventually Cloud County (10-1, 7-1) tiled things back in their favor, and Kelsi Mueller’s 3-pointer gave the Thunderbirds the lead heading into the second. Garden City went the final 5:19 of the first without a field goal.

“We knew we were struggling shooting the ball coming in,” Mitchell said. “That’s why it’s so important that we are lively on the defensive end. And I think, for the most part, we played pretty well there. But we just have to put it all together.”

The lead changed hands four times in the second period with Garden City having the last laugh. Kala Jones hit two free throws, Aerianna Steinmetz knocked down a jumper; then setup Jones on a beautiful dish to finish the half, closing the quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 31-26 lead into the intermission.

That run continued into the third period when Abigail Green drilled a line-drive 3-pointer from the top of the key that gave the Broncbusters their largest lead 34-26. But everything changed from there. Cloud County outscored Garden City 19-9 in the quarter, and closed the stanza on a 7-0 to turn an eight-point deficit into a five-point edge going into the fourth.

“College basketball is a game of runs,” Mitchell said. “That’s something that we preached to our kids. And it was just Cloud’s time to make that run.”

The Thunderbirds advantage swelled to eight three minutes into the final quarter once Davis canned a deep 2-pointer that made it 50-42. It was a 10 with 2:01 left.

“Our girls don’t quit; that much we know,” Mitchell said. “There’s not a lot of negatives from this game. I mean we didn’t really turn it over. Cloud just made a strong push.”

Talia Roberts though nearly stole the game by herself.

The freshman spearheaded a 10-1 run with back-to-back triples that made it a one-point game with 22 seconds remaining. But the dagger came once Frame went to the line. After the freshman hit the first free throw, she clanged the second one off the left rim. But no one boxed out Kennedy Gay, who secured the offensive rebound before dishing out on the wing for Davis who was fouled. The 31-percent foul shooter splashed home two freebies, and the Thunderbirds beat the Broncbusters for the fifth straight time.

Cloud County won the game despite shooting just 33 percent from the field-their second worst performance of the season. Mueller and Tiana Johnson each had nine points, while Camille Awa Baud chipped in eight.

Shakendra Tilley scored 12 of her team-best 14 points in the first half for Garden City, who dropped to 1-5 on the road this season.  Washington had 13, and Roberts finished with 12.

Next up: Garden City vs. Pratt-Saturday, Dec. 9-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 98.1 FM; westernkansasnews.com/z98 and KSKZ mobile app


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