February 25, 2024

Buster men fall short; season ends


Final Highlights: GCCC vs. Neosho County

Chanute, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Some losses are really tough to swallow. For Brady Trenkle and the Buster men, Saturday’s defeat to Neosho will sting for awhile. 

Kyler Steadman scored a season-high 24 points and Neosho County drained 36-of-41 free throws en route to a 74-59 win over Garden City in the first round of the Region VI tournament at Neosho County gym. 

“I’m really proud of our guys,” Trenkle said. “But when the other team hits almost 90 percent of their free throws, there’s not much you can do.”

The scary thing about this game: The final score doesn’t even come to close to telling just how even the contest was with under eight minutes to play. 

In fact, Jeremy Wilson’s split at the foul line gave the Busters a 55-53 advantage with 7:50 to play in the second half. After that it was all Panthers. 

Neosho County held Garden City (22-9, 8-6) without a field goal in the final eight minutes, outscoring them 21-4. And when Steadman’s three-point play pushed the lead to five 63-58, you could see the life being sucked out of the Buster cause. 

“The Kid (Steadman) had the game of his life,” Trenkle said. “Give them credit; he kept taking the ball to the rim and getting the calls.”

Garden City got those same calls, but the problem was what they didn’t do: Convert foul shots; they finished 27-of-42.  

To add insult to injury, the Busters couldn’t buy a basket down the stretch. While Garden City was ice cold, it seemed like Neosho County (21-10) couldn’t miss. And as the the ship got into rocky waters, it was Panthers sophomore D’Avonte Garland that finally sprung the leak.

With the shot clock winding down and under three minutes to play, Garland used a crossover dribble to free himself-then splashed home a straight-on three. The bomb gave Neosho County a 66-57 advantage. The Panthers had it on cruise control from there. 

“It was a really good season,” Trenkle said. “I don’t even want to think about next year yet. This was a really special bunch, and it’s unfortunate we’re not going to Wichita. This one hurts.”

Early on, it was all Neosho-building as much as an 11-point lead at 23-12. But the Busters slowly chipped away-closing the half on a 19-12 run to cut the half-time deficit to 35-31. John Bell scored eight of his team-high 12 points in the first 20 minutes. 

Talan Whitaker added 11 points and three rebounds. Charles Cooper scored 19 points and pulled down nine boards for the Panthers. B.J. Jenkins finished with 12. 

Final Stats: GCCC men vs. Neosho

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