Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Most people wait the whole week for Friday to roll around so they can go home and relax.
Broncbuster guard Zach Beard loves Fridays too but for an entirely different reason.
The sophomore scored all 12 of his points during a four-minute stretch in the second half Friday night, drilling four straight 3-pointers, helping Garden City run away from two-time Division-III national champ North Lake 83-56 at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
“Zach has his legs,” Head Coach Brady Trenkle explained afterwards. “We’ve been watching these guys’ minutes all week. You saw the results tonight.”
Beard’s antics brought back memories of last year’s Broncbuster shootout, when the Wichita-North product drained four triples on a Friday night, en route to a career-high 22 points and an upset-win over then, second-ranked Trinity Valley.
Cue the encore.
Leading 57-50 with less than eight minutes to play, Beard caught fire, hitting a deep 3-pointer from the right wing. On the next trip down the floor, the sophomore switched sides, connecting from the left wing.
After a timeout, Beard hit twice more: the first from the top of the key before the dagger came moments later, when his former high-school turned college teammate Gage Loy found him in stride, in transition for a left-wing three that capped off a 14-0 run and gave the Broncbusters a 71-50 advantage with 5:27 left.
“I keep telling everyone we can shoot,” Trenkle said. “It’s just a matter of the shots going in. They did tonight.”
24 hours earlier, it was a different story. Garden City had their worst shooting night of the year in a three-point loss to Independence, missing 15 of their 19 3-point attempts. On Friday, the Broncbusters flipped the script, connecting on 15-of-29 from downtown; they were 9-of-14 in the second half alone.
But as much as Beard’s 3-point barrage blew the game open, it was Antorian Moore’s breakaway dunk early in the second half that got the Broncbusters rolling after an up-and-down first 20 minutes. The two-hand hammer gave Garden City (5-1) a 46-41 edge with 13:10 to play in the game.
“It wasn’t perfect,” Trenkle said. “But it was much better. Our guys had a lot of energy tonight. That’s what we ask of them every game.”
It also helps when your team shoots 59 percent in the second half (17-of-29), erasing the memory of the first 20 minutes when Garden City missed on 20 of their first 31 shots.
J.T. Bennett and Josh Flemming each added 11 points apiece while Loy scored six points and tied his season-high with nine rebounds.
Lupe Alba scored a team-best 14 points to lead North Lake (4-2), who just a day earlier knocked off Northeastern for their 69th victory over a scholarship program. But the Blazers shot just 35 percent in the second half and were outrebounded 45-23.
Garden City jumped in front 19 seconds into the contest when Jabar Ray hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key. After four straight North Lake points, the Broncbusters responded with an 8-0 run to take a seven-point advantage. They never trailed again.
Tip ins: Garden City’s largest lead was 28-points in the second half; North Lake’s largest cushion was one (4-3 with 18:05 to go in the first half)…It was the third time this season that Garden City has hit 10 or more 3-pointers in a game…Their 52 percent shooting form beyond the arc was their third best performance of the year…The Broncbusters were 12-of-17 from the line (71 percent); they’ve now shot 70 percent or better in all six games
Next up: Garden City vs. Northeastern-Saturday, November 14-7:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR
Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Following an explosive second half Thursday night that saw Broncbuster guard Shala Dobbins score 12 of her team-high 18 points to help trim a 19-point Howard lead down to three, the freshman was riding high.
But then she picked up her fourth foul. Head Coach Nick Salazar put her on the bench, only to bring her back in two minutes later and watch her foul out.
Garden City fell short there.
Dobbins made sure those sequence of events did not happen again on Friday.
The first-year star scored 22 of her game-high 29 points after halftime, including the go-ahead bucket with eight seconds remaining in overtime as Garden City erased a 10-point second-half deficit to stun previously unbeaten Independence 77-76.
“Shala is a special player,” Salazar said afterwards. “Most teams go into the game knowing they can’t stop her. And that held true tonight.”
Truthfully, the only one stopping Dobbins the first 20 minutes was herself. She scored just seven points and missed seven of her eight shot attempts in the first half. The second half; however, was a totally different story.
Trailing 61-51 with 4:49 remaining, it was Dobbins passing that would eventually set up her biggest second half of the season. The freshman hit Jenna Classen for a 3-pointer in the left corner that trimmed the Pirates’ lead to three. The next time down the floor it was Bernbeck’s and-one that tied the game at 61.
After Brianna Jackson-Brewer hit an elbow jumper to put Independence (4-1) up two, it was Dobbins sinking two free throws to tie it at 63. Then she hit an off-balance layup in the lane to knot the game a 65 with one minute to go.
“She had an answer for everything in the second half,” Salazar said. “But it wasn’t just her. It was a collective effort from this group tonight.”
Dobbins’ finger roll with less than a minute to go gave Garden City their first lead since the eight-minute mark of the first half. But Maressah Milum’s two free throws tied the contest at 67 with 20 seconds.
Garden City still had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Dobbins baseline runner fell short, giving the Pirates one last crack with 1.5 seconds.
After a timeout, Simone Costa hit Jay-Nee Alston at the top of the key. But her leaning 18-footer clanked off the back rim, sending the game into overtime.
“I’m so proud of this group for the way they fought back,” Salazar said. “I’ve had teams in the past that wouldn’t have made that type of surge. This team has done it on back-to-back nights.”
In overtime, the Broncbusters built a 71-67 advantage thanks to two straight layups by Dobbins. But the Pirates fought back and took a 76-75 lead when Abby Shelton put back Jackson-Brewer’s missed teardrop in the lane with 25 seconds.
The Broncbusters upset bid nearly went up in smoke on their next possession when DaRae Lewis missed a wide-open layup underneath. But as the ball came off the rim, Lewis knocked it off of Shelton out of bounds, giving Garden City one last shot.
They would not miss again.
Following a timeout, Dobbins took the initiative, taking Classen’s entry pass and going straight to the rim. The freshman’s layup was good, and Garden City had a one-point lead with eight seconds.
Dobbins then sealed the game after a Pirates’ timeout, when she stole the inbounds pass and dribbled out the clock.
“I can’t tell you enough how special a player Shala is,” Salazar explained.
Dobbins finished the second half 7-of-10 from the floor. Jamie Berbeck, who fouled out late in the second half, totaled 15 points and eight rebounds. Classed added 12 points on 4-of-7 from downtown.
Jackson-Brewer paced the Pirates with 21 points, but missed 13 of her 20 shot attempts. Shelton notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Elina Berzina scored 11 and Alston 10.
Early on it was Garden City setting the tone. The Broncbusters scored the game’s first five points. In fact, Independence was held scoreless the first 3:17 of the game as they turned it over on their first four possessions. But a 9-0 runs parked by Jackson-Brewer put the Pirates in charge for the duration of the first half.
Tip ins: Garden City shot a season-high 42 free throws (27-of-42)…It was Garden City’s first win over Independence since 2004…The Broncbusters won the game despite being outrebounded 49-45 (they surrendered 17 offensive rebounds)…As memorable a night as this was, that wasn’t the case for Kavita Akula, who was held scoreless and was 0-for-14 from the field, including 0-for-12 from 3…The Pirates were denied their first 5-0 start since 2011
Next up: Garden City vs. Northern-Oklahoma-Enid-Saturday, November 14: 5:15 p.m. on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR