Men’s Final Highlights:
Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-The Miami Heat are well known for being able to turn that proverbial on/off switch when ever they feel it’s necessary. Well, this much we know about the Buster men: When they flip the defensive switch on, most teams have know shot.
Jeremy Wilson scored 15 points to lead five Garden City players in double figures as the Busters handed Pratt their first conference loss; an 83-71 victory Wednesday night at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
“Our on-the-ball defense tonight was incredible,” Head Coach Brady Trenkle said after the game. “Our guys definitely bought in.”
That smothering “d” built a 25-point second-half lead. But the Beavers didn’t plan on going that quietly.
Following a Wilson dunk that gave Garden City a 55-28 lead, Talan Whitaker was whistled for a technical foul. What ensued over the next five minutes was a cataclysmic shift of momentum.
Robert Davis sank two free throws to make it 55-30. Then the tidal wave hit. Javis Flyn split a pair of free throws; Davis hit a three from the wing; Thomas Tshikaya had a put back after a Davis miss, and then followed that up with a two-handed dunk-pulling the Beavers (13-7, 3-1) within 17. The run was far from over.
On the next Pratt possession, Kaion Seals drove to the basket, laid the ball in softly off the glass and drew the foul. The ensuing free throw brought the Beavers within 14 at 55-41 with 12:31 to play.
“I hate getting up by that many points,” Trenkle said. “As ridiculous as that sounds, I’d rather play close because you have a tendency to let off the gas.”
Not only did they let off, the car totally stalled. Moments later, Flynn used a Seals screen to connect on a right-wing three to pull Pratt within 11. The lead would dwindle to nine after D’Shon Taylor’s offensive foul led to a jumper by Eric Dobbins making it 55-46 with 10:30 to play. That’s as close as the Beavers would get.
Talan Whitaker’s two free throws right before the media timeout ended Pratt’s 18-0 run. Garden City (16-4, 2-2) would build their lead back up to as many as 23 before Pratt using a late surge to cut it to 12.
Jalen Variste scored 14 for the Busters while June Johnson and Whitaker added 12. Jade Cathey chipped in 11. Robert Davis led the Beavers with 21 points and five rebounds.
Next up: Garden City at Cloud County-Saturday, January 25 7:30 p.m. on AM 1030 KBUF and westernkansasnews.com
Final Stats: GCCC men vs. Pratt
Pratt’s Tatiana Grant was a pretty scary proposition. So much so that Nick Salazar made a pretty big adjustment before the game.
Well it definitely pay dividends. Garden City held Pratt’s prolific scorer to 23 points, had four girls in double figures-led by Shaqunna Collins 18 and battered the Lady Beavers into submission 83-58 Wednesday night at the Dennis Perryman Athletic Complex.
“There’s no secret to guarding Tatiana,” Salazar said afterwards. “But we went to a 2-3 zone hoping to slow her down.”
The zone worked. In fact, it frustrated the nation’s third leading scorer all night. Grant, who scored in double figures for the 35th consecutive time, could never get into a rhythm. And by game’s end, she was just 9-of-24 from the field and an eye popping 0-for-5 from downtown. Unfortunately for her, no one picked her up. The rest of the team scored 25 points on 14-of-39 shooting.
Garden City (9-9, 2-2) took advantage, playing one of their best offensive games of the season. Jasmine Christmas came out of hibernation to score 13 points-her first double-figure outing since December 7. But the spark plug was Tori Spann.
Spann ignited an inconsistent bench with 12 points on 6-of-8 from the floor. And it was all part of Salazar’s plan.
“These girls made me look like a genius tonight,” the first-year head coach said. “They played very well.”
Salazar threw Pratt Head Coach Stephanie Thompson a cureball when he altered his starting lineup. For the first time this season, sophomore Sandra Davis was parked on the bench for the first three minutes, making way for Christmas. The change jolted Christmas who played her best game in more than a month.
Elle Stein scored 14 points and pulled down eight boards in the losing effort for Pratt (14-6, 1-3).
Next up: Garden City at Cloud County-Saturday, January 25 5:30 p.m. on AM 1030 KBUF and westernkansasnews.com
Final Stats: GCCC women vs. Pratt