Can’t salvage season finale; Buster men fall short in waning seconds; women end on a high note

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Dodge City, KS (’s hard to imagine any one loss sticking out more than any other. But Saturday’s one-point defeat at Dodge City, epitomized Garden City’s conference season: close, but no cigar.

Ameer Jackson scored 18 points, and EJ Eaves added 17 as Dodge City erased a nine-point second-half deficit to beat the Busters 70-69 at the Civic Center.

“I’m more frustrated now than ever before,” Garden City Head Coach Brady Trenkle said afterwards. “I don’t get it at all. But it’s been that way all season.”

And unfortunately each game has played out exactly the same way. In the first half, Garden City pushed their lead to as many as eight points. In the second half, JT Bennett canned a triple from the wing and the Busters had their largest advantage at 42-33 with 15:20 to play. But as been so often the case, the lead never stuck, and what ensued was a 15-4 Conquistador’s run over the next four minutes to take a 48-46 edge.

“We’re just not running the stuff that we run in practice,” Trenkle said. “We’re not doing the things that we preach, and it’s costing us.”

One of those things was to contain Peyton Pervier, the big seven-footer who’s already signed to play at Old Dominion. In the first 20 minutes, the big man was saddled with foul trouble. In the second half, he was on the floor, and he made his presence felt on more than one occasion, including an emphatic two-handed stuff and a critical three-point play in crunch time.

“We told our guys not to double down on him (Pervier),” Trenkle said. “So we don’t, but nobody watches as (Ameer) Jackson goes streaking untouched to the rim.”

Jackson had no problem piggy backing off his center, scoring 10 of his game-high 18 points in the second half. But it was Pervier who provided the final blow to Garden City’s comeback bid.

Trailing 64-55 with 4:45 remaining, the Busters turned up the defensive pressure, storming back on the heels of a 12-3 run and tying the game at 67 with Tyrell Springer’s steal and dunk with 1:30 to play. But on the other end, Pervier slid to the block, spun around Pierre, laid the ball in off the glass and was fouled. The Glacier-Peaks High School product hit the free throw and Dodge City (17-12, 6-9) had a three-point cushion.

“We played pretty good defense,” Trenkle said. “But there were times where we didn’t, and that play by Pervier obviously was one of those times.”

Garden City (17-13, 6-10) still had life after Davon Anderson hit two free throws to make it a one-point contest. After a Jackson miss on the other end, the Busters had a chance to win it in the final seconds. But two misses: one by Bennett, and the other by Springer at the horn gave Dodge City the dramatic win.

“That basically locks up the seven seed, and means we are probably going to Hutch,” Trenkle said. “We just can’t catch a break.”

Springer was the only Buster in double figures with 16 points. Anderson and Bell each chipped in nine.

Pervier scored 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Conquistadors, who shot 42 percent from the field in second half compared to just 6-of-24 in the opening frame. George Brock finished with 11 points.

The loss secures the No. 7 seed in the Jayhawk West for the Busters, which means a third showdown with Hutchinson on Saturday.

Tip ins: 11 of Garden City’s 13 losses have been by eight points or less…The Busters dropped to 1-6 in conference road games

Next up: Region VI quarterfinals, Saturday, February 28 vs. Hutchinson-6:45 p.m. pregame; 7 p.m. tip on AM 1030 KBUF;; mobile app: KBUF and tuneinradio app: KBUF



Closing on a high note; GCCC women win regular-season finale

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Dodge City, KS ( 2015, there has been no shortage of adversity for the Garden City women’s program. The latest: Bianca Cage, the transfer from Eastern Michigan and former MAC Freshman of the year, was dismissed from the program for violating team rules.

“It’s been one of those years,” Busters Head Coach Nick Salazar said after the game.

That it has, but on Saturday, the team that’s absorbed several gut punches during a tumultuous conference season, responded in a big-time way. Taleah Williams recorded her seventh career double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds as Garden City plowed through arch-rival Dodge City 86-71 at the Civic Center.

“I’m really proud of these girls for how they responded,” Salazar said. “They’ve dealt with a lot, and were able to come through. And Taleah was great.”

The sophomore was nearly perfect from the field, hitting 7-of-her-9 shots. She scored 11 of her game-high 21 in the final period.

Loysha Morris, who was playing on one bad knee, dropped in 18 points, including 14 in the second half. The caveat: no one could stay in front of her.

“She (Loysha) was very quick today,” Salazar said. “She looked pretty close to the normal Loysha. And she picked a good time to do it.”

Tori Spann also found her midrange game, pulling up for short jumpers en route to a 15-point performance. She was 6-of-10 form the field.

The offense was a welcome site for Nick Salazar, whose team scored more than 80 points for the first time since January 17 vs. Cloud County. The balanced attack, which saw 10 different girls find their way into the scorebook, helped push Garden City’s (15-15, 6-10) lead to as many as 18 in the final four minutes.  This after Dodge City built a 34-24 advantage with 6:21 to play in the first half, but the Busters never blinked-answering with a 19-6 run to a take a 43-38 edge into the locker room. It was one of 13 lead changes in the first period.  

Tara Whipple paced Dodge City (10-19, 1-14) with 13 points. Antania Newton and Azaria Nave each scored 11, while Talisha Presley tallied 10. The Conquistadors were just 9-of-26 from the field in the second half (37 percent).

The win means Garden City can finish no worse than sixth in the Jayhawk West, which would setup a meeting with Cowley County on Saturday in the first round of the conference tournament. They can still finish fifth if Pratt loses their season finale. If that happens, the Busters would head to Neosho County.

Next up: Region VI 1st round at TBA-Saturday, February 28—broadcast information will be released later in the week