Hutchinson, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-The oldest cliché in basketball is that you have to play a complete game. On Thursday night in the 6A substate semifinals, the Buffaloes played two brilliant quarters sandwiched in between 16 minutes of basketball Head Coach David Upton would love to forget.
Garden City scored just four points on a combined 0-for-15 shooting in the first and third quarters collectively, as Hutchinson ended the Buffaloes season with a 44-33 victory at the Salthawks Activity Center.
“Hutch plays really good defense,” Upton said. “But we had some wide open looks and didn’t take advantage. Give them credit.”
The tempo was set right from the start; in the Lady Salthawks favor; low scoring and with plenty of defense. And with a 5-1 lead after the first, it’s hard to imagine any coach feeling giddy. But when your team only scores 40 points per night, second-year Hutchinson coach Casey Stiggins was doing backflips.
After falling down 10-3, the Buffaloes responded by scoring five straight points to cut the lead to two early in the second. In fact, they were within a single possession several times before the break but could never get over the hump.
Jaymie Bernbeck fueled a 16-point second quarter, scoring six of her seven first-half points in the frame. Garden City’s shooting woes also seemed like a distant memory, connecting on 6-of-their 14 shots in the period after an 0-for-8 showing in the first eight minutes. But they still trailed by five at the half.
If the first quarter was an aberration, the third quarter was Garden City’s (12-9, 5-3) undoing. The Buffaloes were outscored 10-3; went 0-for-7 from the field and didn’t score their first bucket in the second half until Bernbeck’s three-point play midway through the final quarter. During that same time span, Hutchinson (14-7, 8-3) built their lead to as many as 14 points.
“I felt like we didn’t rebound well tonight,” Upton said. “We didn’t do a good job of keeping them off the glass.”
The Salthawks won by double figures despite shooting a woeful 35 percent on 12-of-34 from the field. Stiggins team made their money at the line, connecting on 17-of-25 free throws.
Shayla DeGarmo paced Hutchinson with 13 points; her 12th double-figure game of the season. Jenna Higgins netted 12 but was just 2-of-9 from the floor.
Bernbeck was the lone Buffalo in double figures with 12 points. Abbie Dart and Jessica Carillo each scored five.
Hutchinson moves into the substate finals where they’ll face off with Maize Saturday night. The top-ranked lady Eagles defeated Wichita West 94-31.
Tip ins: Garden City still hasn’t won a road playoff game since 2009…This was Hutchinson’s first postseason victory since 2008 when they beat Wichita South in the substate semifinals…Garden City shot a season low 24 percent from the field…Garden City’s only lead was 1-0 at the 3:29 mark of the first quarter; they didn’t connect on their first field goal until Bernbeck hit a driving layup with 6:52 left in the second period