Photos by Adam Shrimplin
Garden City, KS-Through the first seven games, Derrick Sexton played limited minutes off the bench. But on Tuesday night, the senior may have solidified his spot in the rotation, thanks to an extra bounce in his step.
Sexton notched his first double-double in a Buffalo uniform with 10 points and 11 rebounds, Demarcus Elliott tied a season high with 14 points and five boards, and Garden City blew past Liberal 54-38 at the Garden.
“Derrick definitely earned some more playing time,” Head Coach Jacy Holloway said after the game. “We’ve used him to spell Demarcus, or if someone gets in foul trouble. But tonight, he fit right into what we were trying to do.”
As soon as Sexton entered the game late in the first quarter, he made a concerted effort on the offensive glass. In fact, so did the rest of his team.
The Buffalos had 10 offensive rebounds in the opening period, building a 12-6 lead despite shooting just 29 percent (5-of-17) from the floor.
“Grabbing that many rebounds tells you we missed a lot of shots,” Holloway said with a smile. “But we also made the extra effort tonight.
Garden City (6-2, 2-0) stretched their advantage to 11 following Jayden Crook’s free throw that made it 22-11 with 1:51 to play in the half. But Liberal (3-5, 0-2) clawed right back. Braxton Hyde hit a jumper, and Cameron Riley nailed a 3-pointer, cutting the Buffaloes lead to 22-16 at the break.
“Just like we did on Friday, we let the other team hang around,” Holloway said. But we responded nicely.”
The Buffaloes scored the first four points of the third quarter, which included a beautiful feed from Elliott to Tye Davis for a layup that pushed the lead back to 10. But as they did in the first half, the Redskins did not flinch, countering with a 7-0 run that was capped with Tristen Bigham’s trey from the top of the key that cut the deficit to three, 26-23 three minutes into the period.
“The good thing is that we had an answer to every run,” Holloway said.
Two runs over the final 11:20 put the game away. The Buffaloes scored eight straight points to close the third, fueled by back-to-back tap backs by Sexton. On their first possession of the fourth, it was Sexton again, floating one home to put Garden City up 38-25. Then, midway through the final stanza, Kyler Lamb drilled a 3-pointer, Elliott flipped home a bunny and Carlos Acosta converted a driving layup, finishing off a 7-0 run that put the contest out of reach.
“It’s a really nice way to start conference play,” Holloway said. “Now we have to build off of this when Hays comes in here on Friday.”
Acosta netted 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting for Garden City, who is off to their best start since 2012. Davis and Garrett Doll each added five points apiece.
Bigham paced the Redskins with nine points, but was just 4-of-11 from the floor. Hyde added seven, and Riley had five.
Next up: Garden City vs. Hays-Friday, Jan. 12-7:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app
Garden City, KS-In practice, Buffaloes’ Coach Matt Pfeifer puts together as many real-life situations as he can. But unfortunately, it has not translated to game day just yet.
Katie Hornya led three Redskins players in double figures with 11 points, Machia Mullens pulled down a team-best nine rebounds, and Liberal torpedoed past Garden City 44-21 at the Garden. It was the Redskins fifth straight win over their Western Athletic Conference rival.
“It’s hard to fathom why what we practice isn’t working in a game,” Pfeifer said. “It’s very frustrating; that’s for sure.”
Liberal used a full-court zone press to fluster the Buffaloes into six, first-quarter turnovers. When Garden City (3-5, 0-2) did get it across the timeline, the shots clanged off the rim. Garden City was just 2-of-10 shooting in the first eight minutes, falling behind 15-4 going into the second.
“We keep putting ourselves in a hole,” Pfeifer said. “Liberal is really good. But we helped them in a lot of situations tonight.”
While the defense showed glimpses of potential all game, holding Liberal to 35 percent shooting, the offense, for the second straight contest, went missing in action. The Buffaloes were held without a field goal for the final 6:03 of the second quarter as Liberal (6-1, 2-0) opened up a 28-11 halftime lead. That drought stretched into the third before Josie Calzonetti’s runner off the glass put an end to it. In all, the Buffaloes went 10:17 between baskets.
“We are too hesitant shooting the ball,” Pfeifer said. “That, and we turned it over so many times with our sets.”
The Buffaloes gave it away 20 times, marking the seventh time in eight games they’ve had 20 or more.
“We have to stop being so careless with the basketball,” Pfeifer said. “We knew they were going to press us.”
The Redskins, who entered play shooting just 24 percent from 3-point land, connected on 5-of-15 from deep. They also won the battle on the glass 33-27 and grabbed 15 offensive rebounds. That combination gave Liberal three separate 21-point leads in the second half.
Calzonetti posted her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds for Garden City, who finished with their second worst shooting night of the season (19 percent). Keyhana Turner added six points.
Mullins had 11 points and nine rebounds for Liberal, who improved to 4-1 away from home. Ali Lucero buried two triples and finished with 10 points.
Next up: Garden City vs. Liberal-Friday, Jan. 12-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 pm tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app
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