Final Boys Highlights: GCHS vs. Hays
Hays, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-As crazy as it sounds, sometimes a loss can be the best thing to happen to a team. For Garden City and Head Coach Jacy Holloway, Friday night’s defeat to third-ranked Hays, might be exactly what they needed to propel them into the 6A state tournament in three weeks.
Reigning Western Athletic Conference player of the year Brady Werth scored a game-high 18 points and Hays overcame a late deficit to close out the Buffaloes 44-39 at Indians Field House.
“I’m not for moral victories at all, but we needed this type of game in a big-time way,” Holloway said afterwards. “Our game plan was good, but it still could have been better. But it shows we can play with anyone.”
That proved to be the case in the early going when Hays jumped out to a 5-0 lead. But Garden City took a punch and tied the game when Caleb Tramp followed up Tristan Nanninga’s wild runner in the lane. That type of resolve set the tempo the rest of the way.
“I’m proud of how our guys fought,” Holloway said. “We had our chances.”
In the second half, it appeared Hays (17-0, 6-0) might pull away. But after falling down by as many as eight, the Buffs responded in a big way. Caleb Tramp stole the ball at half court and threw down a two-hand flush-capping of a 10-0 run to give Garden City (11-8, 3-4) a 35-33 lead with 6:30 to play in the game.
The euphoria was short lived as Lane Clark’s three from the right wing gave Hays a 36-35 advantage. The Indians would make it a three-point game after Koster was called for an offensive foul-leading to Werth’s spinning layup at the other end.
Tramp would pull the Buffs within one with 2:30 to play when he tipped home a Koster miss. Then it appeared Garden City would get the ball back after Tramp blocked Werth’s shot at the rim. But a foul was called, and the junior hit 1-of-2 at the line to make it a two-point game.
After shooting 63 percent in the first half, the Buffaloes couldn’t buy a bucket down the stretch-finishing just 8-for-23 from the floor in the final 16 minutes. Yet Garden City still had a chance in the last 60 seconds.
Down four with Werth, a 66 percent foul shooter, at the line, things seemed pretty dire for the Buffs. Even more so after the junior missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Clark grabbed the offensive rebound. But as the Indians shooting guard pulled the ball back out, Tramp knocked it away; picked it up and raced the other way for a two-handed slam. The rim-rocking jam pulled Garden City within two with 18 seconds to play.
The Buffs opted to foul Werth again on the ensuing inbounds play. He cooperated-missing the front end of another 1-and-1 and Tramp grabbed the rebound. Holloway opted to not call a timeout and led the game play out.
“I thought about calling it,” Holloway said afterwards. “But it’s a snap decision and we let them play it out.”
Nanninga, who had another strong game-12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, had a chance to tie the game as he curled into the paint. But the senior opted to dump off a pass for Tramp, which was intercepted by Werth. Tramp was called for an intentional foul and this time the junior splashed both free throws home.
“It’s disappointing to be that close and not finish,” Holloway said. “But we’ll move on and see where things go.”
Tramp scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds for Garden City. Jared Koster chipped in eight on 4-of-7 from the field. The sophomore is now 11-of-15 in his last two games .
Jordan Windhold poured in eight points and hit two critical 3-pointers for Hays.
Next up: Garden City at Liberal-Tuesday, February 25-7:30 p.m. on KWKR and westernkansasnews.com
Final Stats: GCHS boys vs. Hays
Garden City girls 67, Hays 24
Final Highlights: GCHS vs. Hays
Most teams use the final month of the regular season to gel. For the Garden City girls, they’re using the final games to implement a new rotation.
After Jacksenie Tornero and Kristin Padilla unexpectedly left the team following Tuesday’s upset loss to Dodge City, Head Coach David Upton was left scrambling. But come Friday night, the seventh-year head man found his new lineup a breath of fresh air in a 43-point rout of winless Hays.
“I thought they played very well,” Upton said of his new lineup. “They did the things we asked them to do.”
That new rotation consisted of freshman Abby Dart, who moved from the two guard to the starting point-replacing Tornero, and Kennedy Brunson, who played alongside Dart in the back court-moving Tionnia McKee to the bench.
The move seem to inspire Taryn Tempel, who scorched the nets for a season-high 19 points. Jaymie Bernbeck also came out her mini funk, scoring 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting. She also pulled down five rebounds.
But the biggest surprise of the night may have been Jessica Carillo. The sophomore post dominated the low block-dropping in 12 points and grabbing six boards.
As for the two new starters, Bruson was scoreless for the 16th time this year while Dart scored a career-high 11 points.
Audra Schmeidler paced the Lady Indians (0-17, 0-6) with 9 points and seven rebounds.
With the win, Garden City improved to 11-8 and 4-3 in the Western Athletic Conference.
Next up: Garden City at Liberal-Tuesday, February 25-6 p.m. on KWKR and westernkansasnews.com
Final Stats: GCHS girls vs. Hays