Road sweep; Buffs win a pair in Great Bend

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Great Bend, KS ( his senior season, Buffs swingman Caleb Tramp has developed a little flair for the dramatic. On Friday night, when his team needed him most, he did it again.

Tramp scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the second half, and Garden City held off Great Bend’s upset bid for a 48-33 victory at Panthers Field House.

“That was something we needed,” Head Coach Jacy Holloway said of Tramp’s performance down the stretch. “I was a little surprised that he got some open looks towards the end.”

That’s because Great Bend Coach Chris Battain’s philosophy was to use a box-and-one defense to try and stymie Tramp, who scored 21 points the last time the teams met in Garden City on January 9. Blake Sullivan was ordered to watch his every step. He held him; grabbed him; whatever it took to throw the Buffaloes’ main ace off his game. And for 16 minutes it appeared to work.

“He (Tramp) was getting a little frustrated,” Holloway said. “That kind of defense takes its toll on you. But he responded nicely in the second half.”  

After taking just two shots in the first half and scoring only five points, Tramp revved into overdrive in crunch time. But it wasn’t before Great Bend (2-14, 0-5) turned what could have been a runaway into grinder.

Garden City (11-6, 5-0) absorbed a couple of blows early on before settling in early in the third, building a 26-12 lead with 2:30 left in the period. During that same stretch, the Panthers went ice cold, going nearly eight minutes without scoring a single point. That’s when the light finally clicked on for Battain’s squad.

Trey Ibarra and Kody Crosby hit back-to-back treys, fueling an 11-0 run over the next six minutes, chiseling the Garden City lead down to three points midway through the fourth quarter.

“We had to get stops,” Holloway explained. “If we’re not going to knock it down and get good looks, then we have to continuously get stops. That’s all we were thinking as Great Bend made their run.”

They also needed buckets, and Tramp stepped to the forefront. The senior knocked down consecutive triples from the right corner followed up by his double-clutch 3-pointer from the left wing to end the drought. He added a block and transition finger roll with his left hand to finally put the pesky Panthers away.

“He (Tramp) came through when we needed him,” Holloway said. “He hit some really big shots.”

Tramp was 5-for-9 shooting in the second half while the rest of his team combined to score 13 points on just 4-of-13 from the field.

Jared Koster had an offnight, scoring eight points on 2-of-9 shooting. Akil Love chipped in eight points, and Jesus Reyes tallied six points, four boards and three blocks.

Ibarra netted 13 points on four 3-pointers for Great Bend. Crosby added 11, while the rest of the team combined to score just nine points.

Tip ins: Garden City has now beaten Great Bend nine out of the last 10 meetings…It’s only the third time since 2010 that Garden City has won four straight games…With Hays loss to Liberal, the Buffaloes are in the driver’s seat in the Western Athletic Conference…The Buffaloes finished 10-of-11 from the free throw line…There were two ties and one lead change; Great Bend’s largest lead was three early in the first quarter

Next up: at Dodge City-Tuesday, February 17-7:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM;; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR


Bernbeck heats up; Buffaloes run all over Panthers

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Great Bend, KS ( days, there’s a lot more on Jaymie Berbeck’s mind than just basketball. Her mother Tonya was recently diagnosed with Colon Cancer and is getting ready to undergo her first round of radiation treatments.  For some, that might be too much weight to carry on their shoulders. But not Bernbeck; not this year; not in the middle of a potential conference-title run.

“It’s hard,” Bernbeck said Thursday night before her team’s trip to Great Bend. “My mind is obviously on more important things than basketball. But I am doing what I can to help my team.”

The humble senior did that and then some Friday night on the road. Bernbeck scored 11 of her team-best 14 points in the first half, hitting turnaround shots and driving layups, helping the Buffaloes end a five-game losing streak to the Panthers with a resounding 57-36 victory.

“It’s amazing,” Head Coach David Upton said afterwards. “This is an unbelievable win for our girls. And we know exactly what Jaymie is going through, and she was great tonight.”

Consider this: as great as Bernbeck was in the first 16 minutes, her team’s defense was even better. They held Great Bend’s second leading scorer Regan Unruh, who torched Upton’s bunch for 23 points back on January 9, to just four points on 1-of-8 shooting, including an 0-for-4 first half.

“She’s (Unruh’s) a great player,” Upton said. “And we took her out of the game.”

Literally and figuratively; Unruh was never a factor because of foul trouble, brought on by Garden City’s relentless assault on the rim. Their frenetic press and transition basketball put the senior on the bench and allowed the Buffaloes to build a 21-point first-half advantage. That lead grew to as many as 27 in the second half, all the while Unruh was throwing up one brick after another.

“It’s a credit to our defense,” Upton said. “We played a zone, something we haven’t done against Great Bend. And to tell you the truth, we were a little worried about it coming in. But it couldn’t have worked out any better.”

While Bernbeck’s play sparked Garden City’s (10-7, 3-2) onslaught, it was Abbie Dart’s ability to get to the rim that pushed the Buffaloes over the top. Time after time, the sophomore blew past her defender, who for portions of the night was Unruh. Even Lauren Wellsch, who scored a game-high 16 points for the Panthers, couldn’t stay in front of the Buffaloes’ guard.

Jessica Carillo came off the bench to score 11 points for the Buffaloes, while Tiffany Butler netted seven points and recorded three steals.

With the exception of Welsch, the Panthers were a combined 7-of-32 from the floor (22 percent). Carley Brock and Kate Warren each scored four points. Carly Dreiling had three and five rebounds.