Valley Center, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Immediately following his team’s loss to Valley Center Thursday night, Garden City Head Coach Jacy Holloway could only shake his head. After all his team had just blown an 11-point lead and dropped a one-point game to a three-win team. But in high school basketball, amnesia is a priceless commodity.
Less than 24 hours later, the Buffs played one of their most complete games of the season, turning an early 6-0 deficit into a runaway, 57-43 win over Kansas City Tuner in the consolation semifinals of the 2014 January Jam at Hornets Field House.
“That first quarter, we came out really dry,” Holloway said. “But after that, I thought we did some really good things.”
More good than bad, which is in stark contrast to Thursday night’s game. Trailing 15-6 late in the first quarter, the ‘oh no, here we go again scenario’ could have played out for Garden City (7-5, 2-1). But the Buffs responded, thanks in large part to Jared Koster’s personal 5-0 run; first draining a triple in the corner, then swiping the ball from Thadeus Green on his way to an and-one layup.
Caleb Tramp’s bucket with under five minutes to play in the second quarter, capped an 11-0 Buffs run. It wasn’t until Paul Berry’s layup at the four-minute mark-that the Golden Bears finally scored. The stifling Buffs defense outscored KC Turner 20-7 over the final nine minutes of the half.
While the Garden City offense finally found it’s groove, a familiar face was regaining his confidence. Coming off the bench for a fifth straight game, Tristan Nanniga didn’t disappoint. The senior scored a game-high 13 points on an efficient 5-for-10 and pulled down a team-high six rebounds. Nanninga seemed more decisive than he’s been all season, slicing his way through the Golden Bears defense.
But the most impressive part of this win was the defense. Up three with 5:30 to play in the game, Holloway’s team put the clamps down–allowing just one field goal down the stretch- leading to a 14-2 run. The dagger came following a Garden City timeout when Mitchell Hernandez lobbed an inbound pass to the rim. Tramp, who was sitting at the elbow, spun around Andre Jackson, levitated towards the rim, caught the ball with his right hand, and kissed it off the glass. The junior finished with 11 points; his second straight double-figure scoring game.
Dewayne Guess led KC Turner (1-8) with 11 points.
Next up: 5th place game-Garden City vs. Topeka Seaman-Saturday, January 24-3:45 pm tip on KWKR 99.9 FM and westernkansasnews.com
Final Stats: GCHS vs. KC Turner