July 16, 2024

First half review: Buffs earn high marks


Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Two losses doesn’t tell the whole story of the first six games for Jacy Holloway’s bunch. You have to go a bit deeper than that. 

Consider this: Garden City’s two defeats are to Hays (No. 4 in 5A; 5-0) and Denver South (No. 8 in 4A Colorado; 4-5 and have won three out of their last four). They’ve already bolstered their resume with statement wins over Wichita Trinity (No. 6 in 4A Division II) and Pueblo East (No. 4 in 4A Colorado).

“It’s a nice way to end the first half of the season,” fourth-year Head Coach Jacy Holloway said following the upset win over Pueblo East. “We’ve had some stumbling blocks, but it’s nice to finish this way.”

One of those stumbling blocks came against Hays in the championship game of the Indians Shootout, where Garden City turned the ball over a season-high 18 times. But with that-they still had a chance to win the game-cutting a 19-point second-half deficit all the way down to three in the waning moments. 

Against Denver South, the Buffs stormed out to a 7-0 lead. But the Rebels closed the opening frame on an 11-2 run and used a 27-11 spurt to finish the first half. Despite a nine-point halftime deficit, the Buffs pulled within two in the final five minutes but could never get over the hump. 

Making their resume even more impressive: Out of the 32 teams in 6A-only five are undefeated at the break (Maize 5-0, Wichita East 5-0, Southeast 4-0, Manhattan 3-0 and No. 1 Blue Valley Northwest 2-0)-two losses doesn’t look all that bad. The Buffs are also the second highest scoring team in the class (342), trailing only 2-5 Wyandotte (401). 

At 4-2, the Buffs are not a top 10 team in 6A. But they have a chance to get there with a pretty favorable second-half schedule. They open at Dodge City on January 7-a team that has struggled out of the gates at 1-3. But it’s also the same Demon squad that swept the Buffs during the season series a year ago only to fall in the sub-state final in a two-point thriller. 

After that, they have three straight games at the Garden against Great Bend, Liberal and No. 4 Hays. Conceivably, the Buffs could be 7-2 heading into their second match-up with the Indians. That stretch all culminates with the Valley Center Tournament January 23-25. 

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