Garden City (7-2) at Lamar, CO (3-10)-pregame 7:45 p.m.; tip off 8 p.m.
Radio: AM 1030 KBUF (Mike Pilosof and Ross Miller)|Online: www.westernkansasnews.com/kbuf|Smartphone: kbufmobile.com and tuneinradio app on Iphone and Android: KBUF
Lamar, CO (westernkansasnews.com)-There could be something special brewing in Finney County, and it’s not the Christmas Parade.
Following a five-point win over previously unbeaten Seminole State, Garden City appears to be back on the map again for the first time since Kris Bauman was manning the bench. The Busters have now won four straight, two of those over potential national tournament teams.
“This is a fun group to be around,” First-year Head Coach Brady Trenkle said. “I tell them everyday that I can’t wait to come to practice.”
And why not, Garden City is off to their best start since 2012. That year they began 10-1 only to lose 12 of their next 18 games-crumbling to an 18-13 finish and an early exit from the Region VI tournament. So Trenkle isn’t celebrating just yet.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Trenkle said. “We’re just trying to get better each and everyday.”
Tuesday night presents another road test for the Busters; a 90-minute trip west to Lamar, a team they handled by 14 points seven days ago at the DPAC. But make no mistake about it, despite a 3-10 mark, the Lopes have some serious perimeter talent. Where’s the proof? How about 10 three-pointers against arguably one of the best defenses in the country.
“They cut a 20-point deficit in half rather quickly last week,” Trenkle said. “They’re very talented.”
And they have an experienced coach to boot. Adam Schwartz is in his fourth year at the helm and during that time has watched his team become relevant again for the first time in more than a decade.
The former University of Nevada, Las Vegas coach was also an assistant in 2009, when the Lopes won the region title for the first time in program history and knocked off Garden City in the national tournament.
The only question mark on the young head coach’s resume has been consistency. Lamar has alternated winning seasons since he took over in 2009. And seeing how the club won 17 games last year, recent history would show the Lopes are setup for a letdown this year. The numbers show it.
They ranked 172nd in the country in field goal percentage while their points are nothing to bolster about. Still, the steady play of Tiwian Kendley and sophomore Curtis Redd seem to be a calming influence on the Lopes. They fell within one point of knocking off perennial contender Casper during a three-day stretch over the weekend that saw the Lopes win one and drop two.