July 14, 2024

Buster men stand strong; women falter


Final Men’s Highlights: GCCC vs. Dodge City

Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Garden City Coach Brady Trenkle always stresses the fact that his team needs to get to the line. But he couldn’t have envisioned that the final 20 minutes Saturday night would turn into a free-throw shooting contest. 

D’Shon Taylor scored a career-high 24 points and finished 9-of-10 from the line as the Busters outlasted Dodge City 83-71 at the Dennis Perryman Athletic Complex. 

“There was a foul every time down the floor,” Trenkle said after the game. “But that’s the new rules so I get it.”

What’s perplexing about Garden City’s (21-8, 7-6) second straight win: The fact that they’ve struggled closing teams out. After nearly blowing a 19-point second-half lead on Wednesday night at Pratt, the Busters found themselves in nearly an identical situation on Saturday. 

Up by as many as 21 late in the opening half, Garden City watched as the Conquistadors (15-14, 4-9) slowly chipped away at what seemed like an insurmountable advantage. Dodge City used a 9-2 run to start the final period-sparked by a thunderous jam by point guard E.J. Eaves. 

After Garden City built the lead back to 14 at 61-47 with under 10 minutes to play, the Conquistadors changed their philosophy. Instead of settling for jumpers, Kyle Campbell’s squad used a vicious assault on the rim to worked their way back into the game. 

The Conqs shot 32 free throws in the second half alone-going 26-of-32. Eaves, who only fired three in the first half, was 12-for-18 after the break. All of that had Dodge City within nine 61-52 with 8:26 to go. It would only get more interesting. 

After Jeremy Wilson drilled a three for Garden City, Eaves raced the other way trying to answer quickly. Wilson had already setup shop in the lane, so when the freshman setup man ran over him, every fan in the arena expected it to be an offensive foul. After a split-second delay, a block was called. Moments later, Wilson, in complete frustration, slapped the floor with his hand drawing a technical foul. The two whistles placed Wilson on the bench for the final 3:00.

Meantime, Dodge continued their run, and Ameer Jackson’s runner with 2:40 to go pulled them within six. The Conquistadors wouldn’t get any closer. 

Jalen Variste’s free throw with 50 seconds to go gave Garden City a 77-71 lead. Dodge had a chance to make it a one possession game on their ensuing possession, but Brett O’Neil’s three was blocked by Tiodell Pierre. The freshman started the break and found John Bell for an easy layup. The Busters closed the game on a 7-0 run. 

“We’re not very good when we have a big lead,” Trenkle said. “This is the second straight night we’ve seen this happen.”

But as they did on Wednesday, Garden City survived, even when it seemed like clock stoppages and free throws would eventually do them in. 

Wilson finished with 13 points, and June Johnson added 11 for the Busters. Eaves poured in 24 to lead Dodge City. The freshman finished off a stretch  that saw him score 58 points in two games. 

The win puts the Busters in a tie with Cloud County for the fifth spot in the Jayhawk West. But they’ll need some help from both the T-Birds and Seward County for them to host a first-round tournament game. 

Next up: Garden City at Barton County-Wednesday, February 26-8 p.m. on AM 1030 KBUF and westernkansasnews.com

Final Stats: GCCC men vs. Dodge 2


Dodge City women 69, Garden City 61

Final Highlights: GCCC vs. Dodge City

The scenario seemed pretty simple for the Garden City women entering Saturday night: Win your last two games and you’re virtually ensured a home tournament game. On paper that sounded great, but what’s transpired on the floor the last 80 minutes doesn’t have Head Coach Nick Salazar smiling. 

Kelli Tolar scored 12 points to lead three Dodge City players in double figures, and the Lady Conquistadors buried nine 3-pointers in a 69-61 upset win over third-place Garden City at the Perryman Athletic Complex Saturday night. 

“They’re (Dodge City’s) offensive is very capable,” Salazar said. “If we don’t do what we have to do, they’re just explosive enough to beat us.” 

Buster women warming up before Saturday night's border war
Buster women warming up before Saturday night’s border war

That’s exactly the scenario that played out for a second straight game. And Salzar had hoped that team that was blown out by 23 at Pratt just 72 hours earlier was dead and buried. Not only was that not the case, that squad is very much alive and well. 

In the game’s first eight minutes, the Busters (15-13, 7-6) watched as Dodge City put on a 3-point assault. The Conquistadors built an early 18-9 lead on the back of five triples. They finished the half 7-of-10 from deep. 

In the second half, Dodge City (16-13, 3-10), held off every Buster rally. And when Garden City closed in, it was Tolar’s ball fake and nifty layup that pushed the Lady Conquistadors lead to nine 56-47 with 7:54 to play.

Even when Garden City trapped Tolar in the back court, the sophomore found a way to get the ball to Tara Whipple, who’s breakaway layup with 4:35 remaining gave Dodge City a 61-50 advantage. On their next possession Tolar whipped a pass to Hannah Whitaker for an easy finish at the rim-extending the lead to 13. 

That advantage would grow to as many 14 before Kate Inchun’s three sparked an 8-0 Buster run to cut the Conquistadors lead to 64-58 with 1:19 on the clock. But Garden City simply ran out of gas, and Dodge put the clamps down to finish off their most impressive victory of the season. 

The win snapped a 13-game losing streak to the Busters. Kesha Buckner scored 11 points and pulled down 11 rebounds-her 25th double-figure rebounding game of the season for Dodge City. 

Shaqunna Collins scored 16 points for Garden City before fouling out in the final two minutes. Allegria Chisholm added 15 and Jasmine Christmas 10. 

Next up: Garden City at Barton County-Wednesday, February 26-6 p.m. on AM 1030 KBUF and westernkansasnews.com

Final Stats: GCCC women vs. Dodge 2



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