Listen to the complete game in our archives section
Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Broncbuster Coach Brady Trenkle had seen this story before: build a big lead and watch it disappear.
It happened consistently last season; 11 of their 13 losses were by eight points or less. Their last two games vs. Dodge City and Hutchinson were ones where they held late second-half advantages only to see them totally dissipate.
On Friday night, the Broncbusters saw their 21-point cushion trimmed to single digits in the final minutes before doing just enough down the stretch to hold off Western Iowa Tech.
On Saturday, it was de ja vu all over again; only this time Garden City had a resounding answer.
Josh Fleming scored 15 points and J.T. Bennet added 11 as the Broncbusters scored 50 second-half points en route to a 90-57 victory over Western Iowa Tech at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
“We finally made some shots,” Trenkle said. “It’s that simple. When we are hitting shots, we’re tough to beat. But it’s been a struggle for us the last couple of games.”
Although it was far from dominant, Garden City’s hot shooting helped them build a 17-point halftime lead. In the second half, Diontae Jones offensive rebound and stick back put the brown and gold up 53-35 with 13:33 remaining.
“Once again we made some questionable decisions,” Trenkle explained. “That allowed them (Western Iowa Tech) to get back in the game.”
Over the next five minutes, the Broncbusters went stone cold and like sharks in the water, the Comets smelled blood. Western Iowa Tech answered with a 15-4 run capped with B.J. Saunders step back jumper over Zach Beard that pulled the visitors to within seven 57-50 with 8:30 to play.
“I just told our guys we had to play harder,” Trenkle explained. “I mean there’s no magic to it. We just needed to play with a sense of urgency.”
Trenkle finally got what he was looking for. Garden City (8-3) took whatever hope the Comets had built during their five-minute run and washed it away, closing the game on a 33-7 spurt, fueled by Brandon Jones emphatic alley-oop dunk that put the Broncbusters up 72-50 with 4:00 remaining.
Then Caleb Tramp hit back-to-back triples in the final minute, putting the finishing touches on one of the most impressive stretches of basketball that Garden City had played all season.
“We put Caleb at the 4 to try and get his jumper going,” Trenkle said. “We’re still working on his outside game. But you’re seeing the work pay off.”
The freshman started the game and finished with a season-best eight points and six rebounds. DeVondre Livingston sparked the bench with nine points on 4-of-4 shooting. Diontate Jones added nine as 13 of the 14 Garden City players that suited up scored; James McNeal was the only one who did not crack the ledger.
Jalen Henriquez paced Western Iowa Tech (2-10) with 12 points, and Alipo Oluak had 11.
The Comets who buried 10 3-pointers on Friday night, hit on only 5-of-27 (19 percent) in the weekend finale. They also missed 11 free throws (16-of-27).
After trailing by as many as four in the first three minutes, the Broncbusters surged back to take the lead for good with 13:00 to play in the first half. Bennett, who had been held in check the previous three games, hit three straight triples to stretch the lead to 15 with 5:30 to go in the period. Then Jabar Ray’s foul-line jumper gave Garden City their largest lead of the first half 40-22 with 30 seconds to go.
Tip ins: Garden City was supposed to play Western Iowa Tech’s Junior Varsity squad, but they ended up seeing the same team they faced on Friday night…The Broncbusters followed up their 24 offensive-rebound performance on Friday with 19 more on Saturday…Despite dominating in the first half, the Broncbusters had a three-minute drought that finally ended when (Jabar) Ray hit a 3-pointer with 1:12 to go…There were five lead changes and two ties; Western Iowa Tech’s largest advantage was 7-3 with 17:25 to play in the first half…Garden City cleaned up their free throw shooting-after missing 17 of them on Friday they were 19-of-24 (79 percent) on Saturday
Next up: Garden City at Butler-Wednesday, December 2 7:30 p.m. on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR
Listen to the complete game in our archives section
Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Entering their last non-conference showdown of the season, Garden City guard Shala Dobbins was fourth in the nation in scoring at more than 23 points per contest. But she still hadn’t played the complete game.
“We know exactly what she (Dobbins) is capable of if she gets everyone involved,” Head Coach Nick Salazar said afterwards.
Saturday night, fans were treated to the entire repertoire.
Dobbins finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists as Garden City overcame a sloppy start to beat Trinidad State 54-40 at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
“As Shala learns to play within the structure of our offense, the sky is the limit,” Salazar said. “It was fun to watch.”
The freshman didn’t sit around waiting to take charge. But unlike the three games in Midland, TX last week, Dobbins never forced the action, scoring 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half while getting her teammates involved.
That helped out Jaymie Bernbeck who scored 10 points and pulled down a season-high 14 rebounds. It was her second double-double of the year.
DaRae Lewis added eight points and eight rebounds while Dominique Maxwell, who left Friday night’s game with a knee injury, scored five.
But Garden City’s (6-5) performance was far from aesthetically pleasing. The Broncbusters let a 15-point second-half lead dwindle to single digits in the final quarter. Kaila Gabriel’s layup pulled the Trojans to within five 40-35 with 8:48 to go. But that’s as close Trinidad State (2-8) would get as Salazar’s bunch responded with a 7-0 run capped off with Bernbeck’s put back off a Dobbins missed jumper that gave Garden City a 47-35 edge with 4:48 to play.
“I haven’t even really thought about Butler,” Salazar said regarding his team’s first conference game of the season on Wednesday. “We’re just trying to go 1-0 each game. I thought this game was ugly, but we found a way to win it. That’s all that matters at the end of the day.”
One troubling spot was on the glass where the Broncbusters allowed 17 offensive rebounds.
“It’s something we have to clean up,” Salazar said. “It’s a work in progress.”
Alaynna Latimore led the Trojans with eight points but was just 4-of-10 from the field.
Garden City is used to slow starts, and Saturday was no different. The home team missed their first five shots-digging an early five-point hole. But they bounced back, closing the opening quarter on a 12-5 run to take the lead for good.
Tip ins: Garden City was 22-of-26 (85 percent) from the free throw line…One of the reasons Trinidad State got back in the game in the second half: poor shooting; the Broncbusters were just 6-of-28 (21.4 percent) from the floor over the final two periods (they shot a season-low 31 percent for the game)
Next up: Garden City at Butler-Wednesday, December 2 5:15 p.m. pregame; 5:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR