Buffaloes cap regular season with sweep of Liberal

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Garden City, Ks (westernkansasnews.com)-For the Garden City boys, their ambitions run much higher than winning a Western Athletic Conference title. But when given the chance, they didn’t shy away from it Tuesday night, and grabbed something they hadn’t had their hands on in more than a decade.

Caleb Tramp scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, which included three emphatic dunks in a 12-minute span as the Buffaloes clinched at least a share of the WAC title for the first time since 2002-2003 with a 53-33 victory over Liberal at the Garden.

“He (Tramp) needed that after his shooting struggles the last couple of games,” Holloway said. “It was important for him. He was getting some inside and outside looks.”

And in the first half he was drilling them, connecting on 6-of-8 from the field in the first two quarters. He also got a much needed spark from freshman Garrett Doll, who notched a career high in minutes, while scoring eight points and draining two big treys.

“It was time,” Holloway said of his first-year guard. “I’ve been a little hesitant to put him (Doll) in, but the situation warranted it. And he played really well; especially on defense.”

It’s been a big week for the Doll family. Garrett’s Sister Kayla, a former Buffalo track and cross country star, took first in the 1,000 meters at the Kansas State Open. The Younger Doll played meaningful minutes Friday night against Hays, and then followed it up with his first considerable varsity action. He didn’t disappoint.

On a night where Garden City (12-8, 6-2) honored all of its seniors, it was a baby-faced kid who stole the show. Doll got his night started with his first varsity points: a triple from the right corner in the second quarter that gave the Buffaloes a 12-point lead. In the fourth quarter, the freshman helped fend off the Redskins, who had cut the brown and white’s lead to seven. He hit a runner along the baseline followed up by 3-pointer in the left corner that pushed the advantage back to 10. It was game over after that.

“He (Doll) showed why he was dressed with the varsity to begin with,” Holloway said. “He can only get better.”

And it was a welcome sight to Holloway to find a third scorer after Tramp and Jared Koster combined for 31 of Garden City’s 39 points in a loss to Hays on Friday night.

Liberal (12-6, 3-4), who had won five in a row coming in and six out of their last seven, took a 5-4 lead with 4:06 left in the first. That’s when the well dried up, as the Redskins went scoreless over the next five minutes. During that stretch, Garden City built their lead to as many as 12 before taking an 11-point edge into the break. Not much changed in the second half.

“It felt really good to have a more balanced attack,” Holloway said. “It definitely helped on both ends of the floor.”

Doll’s boost in the final period helped put the game on ice, as the Buffaloes closed the contest on a 17-4 run over the final six minutes.

Koster scored 10 points, including a momentum-changing three in crunch time. Akil Love chipped in eight points and five rebounds.

Timothy Fitzgerald was the only Redskin in double figures with 16. He was 6-of-11 from the field while the rest of his team was a combined 5-of-29.

Tip ins: There were four lead changes in the first four minutes…Garden City’s largest advantage was 20; Liberal’s was one…With the win, coupled with a Maize loss, Garden City sits as the No. 2 seed in the substate standings; If Maize beats Newton at home Friday night and Dodge City beats Liberal on Thursday, it could setup a scenario where the Buffaloes, Red Demons and Eagles are all tied at 12-8- meaning Athletic Director Martin Segovia will be flipping a coin to see if the Buffaloes are the No 2,3 or 4 seed next week; If Maize loses Friday night at Newton and Dodge City loses to Liberal, the Buffaloes will be the No. 2 seed and host Hutchinson on Wednesday in the substate semifinals…If Dodge City loses Thursday to Liberal, the Buffaloes will be crowned the outright WAC champs…It’s the first time since 2012 that the Buffaloes finished the regular season with a winning record in conference…Caleb Tramp ended an 0-for-15 drought from 3-point land by canning a triple in the opening quarter; he finished 2-of-5 from downtown…As a team, the Buffaloes were just 3-of-their last 36 from 3-point range; they finished 6-of-12 on Tuesday night

Next up: Substate semifinals, Wednesday, March 4-time TBA on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR


Bernbeck shines again; Buffaloes roll

Game Highlights

Game Box

Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-It’s hard to imagine that just a few months ago, Jaymie Bernbeck could barely walk after of-season knee surgery. It was a frustrating beginning to the final chapter of a really good high-school career. But frustration aside, on Tuesday night, Garden City’s leader was back in pure form.

The senior scored 12 points, pulled down five rebounds, and showed off both the midrange game and her explosiveness at the rim as the Buffaloes put away a scrappy Liberal team 55-28 at the Garden.

“After that start, it’s hard to imagine us playing the way we did,” Head Coach David Upton said. “But we put everything together and started knocking down shots. And Jamie, what can you say about her? She’s a special kid.”

Consider this: Garden City shot 1-for-11 in the first quarter. Over the final three periods, Upton’s squad was 22-of-34 (65 percent), turning an 8-5 deficit into a 50-20 spurt and a 27-point win. Bernbeck finished 5-for-11.

“I didn’t think it was that high,” Upton said of his team’s percentage over the final three frames. “But I told the girls in the locker room, we’ve got this because all we have to do is hit shots.”

His premonition came true as the Buffaloes shot a season-best 51 percent from the floor and won a game despite being outrebounded 27-17. It’s the second time this season that Liberal (4-15, 2-5) dominated Garden City (12-8, 5-3) on the glass.

Tiffany Butler equaled her season high with nine points while recording two steals and pulling down three rebounds. Jessica Carillo added eight points; Joslyn Muoz seven; Jessica Hinde and Breece Dreiling had six apiece.

Jada Mickens paced the Redskins with eight points. Alexandria Lucero, who scored 19 points in an overtime win over Great Bend on Saturday, finished with just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting.

Tip ins: There were five lead changes and two ties-Liberal’s largest lead was three 8-5; Garden City’s was 27…Garden City currently sits as the No. 5 seed in the substate standings…They can still finish as the No. 4, but they’ll need some help from Hutchinson, who would have to lose Friday night against No. 6 Salina Central; that would mean the two teams would both finish at 12-8; meaning a coin flip would determine who gets home court for their semifinal matchup next Thursday…Of course if Liberal knocks off Dodge City and Hutch beats Central, that would setup a scenario where those two teams each finish 13-7, which would send it to a coin toss-meaning Dodge City could end up as the No. 4 and the Salthawks as the No.3…That would send Garden City to Dodge on Thursday…The Buffaloes finish the regular season as the WAC runner-up behind champion Dodge City…Garden City closes the regular season by winning 8 out of their last 11 games; this after a 1-3 start

Next up: Substate semifinals, Thursday, March 5-time TBA on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR