Buffalo boys find a way; girls endure tough night



Great Bend, KS-At first glance of the final box score, one could easily determine that if you score only three points in a quarter, there’s a high probability that you’ll be on the losing end. Unless of course, the other team doesn’t score at all.

Such was the case on Friday night, where offensive basketball took a back seat to defense and long scoring droughts. In the end, Jacy Holloway will take it, no matter how ugly it was.

Tye Davis connected on a season-high three 3-pointers, Jarrod Springston scored eight points, and Garden City hung on for a 33-28 victory at Panthers Field House.

“A win is a win, no matter how it looks,” Holloway said with a big smile. “But I thought our defense was really effective tonight.”

That was apparent in the second period, where the Buffaloes held Great Bend (1-5, 0-1) to a goose egg over the eight-minute stretch. The only problem: Garden City (5-2, 1-0) could not muster any offense themselves. The brown and white scored just three points and were 1-of-9 from the field.

The game was tied at 15 at the half.

“Our coaching staff was talking about how that second quarter was the best 3-point quarter in the history of basketball,” Holloway said. “It was a good game back and forth. Just nobody could hit a shot.”

The two teams combined to go 1-for-15 from the field with 11 turnovers in the second quarter.

“We got sloppy on some stuff offensively and turned the ball over,” Holloway said. “But it’s early, and we can correct those things.”

Both teams found their range early in the third quarter as the squads exchanged the lead three times in the first three minutes. Following Demarcus Elliott’s tap back that put Garden City up 22-19 with 5:02 to play in the period, the Buffaloes lost Panthers’ guard Ty Elsfeld, who slipped into the right corner and buried a 3-pointer to tie the game.

“We let them stay in the game, especially in the fourth quarter,” Holloway said. “But Great Bend always plays us tough.”

The Buffaloes responded with an 8-0 run, capped by Springston’s 3-pointer and Carlos Acosta’s sensational finish at the rim. But Garden City did not score again for more than six minutes, while the Panthers rattled off six straight points to make it a two-point game with 14 seconds to play.

“We talked about it on Thursday with these guys, and they knew the type of environment and the different settings in this gym,” Holloway said. “It’s a tough place to play.”

Garden City had a chance to put the game away at the line, but Springston hit 1-of-2, keeping it a three-point game with 13 seconds left.

With a chance to send the game to overtime, Ty Esfeld never got a clean look and forced up a contested 3-pointer from the top of the key that clanged off the left side of the rim. Jayden Crook grabbed the Buffalo rebound, was fouled and hit two freebies, giving the Buffaloes their 12th win over the Panthers in their last 14 tries.

Acosta and Demarcus Elliott each scored six while Garrett Doll totaled two points, three rebounds and three steals for Garden City. Crook, who hit a career-high six 3’s vs. Scott City, was 0-for-8 from the field and 0-for-5 from downtown.

Esfeld scored 10 points to pace the Panthers, who lost their fifth straight game. Sam Ryan hit two triples and finished with eight.

Next up: Garden City vs. Liberal-Tuesday, Jan. 9-7:30 p.m. on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app



Great Bend, KS-Midway through the third quarter Friday night, Garden City Coach Matt Pfeifer took a seat on the visitor’s bench. The second-year head man, who is usually pacing the sidelines for 32 minutes, never got up until the final buzzer.

Chalk it up to one of those nights.

Shailey Clark was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field; she finished with nine points, Camryn Dunekack chipped in nine as well, and Great Bend stormed past the Buffaloes 46-34 at Panthers Field House.

“We didn’t do much right,” Pfeifer said afterwards. “We turned the ball over, and never really got into any type of rhythm.”

It didn’t help that Great Bend (2-4, 1-0) enjoyed one of their best shooting nights of the season. The Panthers connected on 18-of-38 shots (47 percent) and nailed 5-of-14 from long range.

“Give Great Bend credit because they hit shots,” Pfeifer explained. “But we have to be better at executing our stuff.”

The Panthers sizzling shooting was apparent three minutes into the first quarter. After Monica Quintanar’s layup tied the game at 7, Great Bend seized all control, scoring the final nine points of the period while going into total lockdown mode. Garden City was held scoreless for nearly seven minutes.

“When you don’t score, it’s hard to win a game,” Pfeifer said. “It’s really as simple as that.”

Annie Gerber’s 3-pointer from the top of the key finally ended drought in the second quarter. But the celebration was short lived. Great Bend followed with an 8-0 surge, capped by Dunekack’s offensive rebound and stick back that put the Panthers up 27-14 with 1:43 to play in the first half.

“Sometimes during the course of the game, we totally get out of what we are supposed to be doing,” Pfeifer said. “That is what’s so frustrating.”

Garden City (3-4, 0-1) closed the half on a high note as Beth Guymon, who scored 10 of her 12 points over the first 16 minutes, hit a triple and followed with a 3-point play that cut the Great Bend lead to 27-19 at the break.

Then came the third quarter, an eight-minute stretch where Pfeifer wouldn’t mind burning the tape.

The Buffaloes were 1-of-8 shooting in the period, turned it over nine times, and went scoreless the final 6:21 of the frame. Great Bend countered with a 12-0 run, and by the time the final quarter rolled around, Garden City was looking up at a 20-point deficit.

“We have to get better all around,” Pfeifer said. “I think some of our players got a little full of themselves after winning those three straight games. So we have a lot of work to do.”

The Buffaloes shot just 29 percent. It was the fourth time this season that Garden City was held under 30.

“It’s hard to swallow because they knew what we had to do,” Pfeifer said. “We just didn’t execute.”

Josie Calzonetti paced Garden City with 14 points but was just 3-of-13 from the field. The Buffaloes turned it over 27 times, the third most in a single game this season.

Jenna Mauler added nine points for Great Bend, who improved to 8-4 vs. Garden City under Head Coach Carrie Minton. Alyssa Herter had eight.

Next up: Garden City vs. Liberal-Tuesday, Jan. 9-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app

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