Garden City vs. Liberal-Tuesday, January 14-pregame 5:45 p.m.; tipoff 6 p.m.
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Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Most teams learn to cope with losses; it’s a part of sports. But the most perplexing ideology is trying to figure out exactly what went wrong.
“I’ve been scratching my head for two days now,” Head Coach David Upton said Monday-looking back at Friday’s home loss to Great Bend. “It”s not frustrating by any means. We did the things we needed to do; we just inexplicably missed shots we normally make.”
That’s an understatement. Raise of hands on the last time someone saw Jacksenie Tornero miss a transition layup? It doesn’t happen very often; in fact-it never does.
So when the senior had a chance to put the Buffs in front Friday late in the fourth quarter, the thing that never happens reared its ugly head.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen her (Jacksenie) miss a wide-open layup,” Upton said. “Hard to imagine it happened.”
Unfortunately it did. So how do you right the ship?
“This team lacks an identity,” Upton said. “We need to establish the identity we had last year-especially on the defensive end.”
Defense would be a start. Entering Tuesday night’s game with Liberal, the Lady Buffs are 26th in points allowed in 6A (302). Alarming? Possibly-considering there’s only 32 teams. But let’s not get carried away; the teams in front of them have only played a hand full of games. Garden City is still yielding a minuscule 37.8 points per game.
The Liberal team they face tonight isn’t the same one that started the year 1-4. Since then, the Redskins have reeled of three straight wins-first time they’ve done that in four years.
“We can’t take anyone for granted,” junior post Jaymie Bernbeck said. “We just have to play our game and take care of us.”
Jacy Holloway sent a message to his core on Friday: No one player is bigger than the team. ‘Team’ being the key concept.
In a surprise move, the fourth-year head man benched his original starting five and replaced them with a younger, smaller; more exuberant group. The change didn’t help much on the scoreboard, at least early on. But some of the guys got the message-like Caleb Tramp.
The Junior scored 16 points-10 of those in the second quarter; he also pulled down five rebounds. All it took was a little push.
Meantime Hunter Delgado’s early-season struggles continued as the senior went a second straight game without a field goal? How rare is that? It only happened twice all of last season-that’s 23 games.
All of that said, Garden City still won-beating Great Bend 53-43-improving to 5-3 overall.
Now their old pal from the south invades the New Garden Tuesday night. Liberal is a far cry from the teams that produced some of the most athletic talent seen in these parts in more than a quarter century. If you think that’s outrageous, look up how many Redskins have landed in the NFL, NBA, etc.
There isn’t any NBA talent on this team, but there is a coach that has a pretty powerful coaching background. How powerful? Does the name Jim Littell ring a bell? The current Oklahoma State women’s coach, ,who once led the Seward County ladies to a national championship in 2002. Do you know who his running mate was? None other than the Redskins current boss Scott Hinkle.
This is also the same man that led the Redskins to two state tournament appearances in the mid 90’s. So don’t be surprised if the former Athletic Director turned coach turns things around in a hurry.