Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Coming into his sophomore season, Independence guard Davauhnte Turner garnered little interest from Division-I schools.
“He has some lower-level programs looking at him,” Pirates Head Coach Tony Turner said. “But they aren’t the programs that he wants.”
Thursday night’s showing might just change that.
Turner scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, connecting on 7-of-11 from the floor, as the Pirates ended a five-game non-conference road losing streak with a 70-67 victory over Garden City at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
“They were the better team,” Broncbuster Coach Brady Trenkle said afterwards. “We knew they were talented. And JT (Bennett) had a tough task trying to stay in front of (Davauhnte) Turner.”
As good as Turner was, it was De’Andre King that fueled the Pirates in the early going. King hit three first-half triples, and helped Independence build a 31-20 edge with 1:10 left in the opening period.
“They’ve got some really good guards,” Trenkle said. “But if we hit shots tonight, we win the game. Credit them; they hit shots.”
Garden City (4-1) never quit, closing the first 20 minutes on a 5-0 run to pull to within six at the break 31-25.
But to Trenkle’s point, the Broncbusters could not throw the ball in the ocean, misfiring on 40 of their 59 shots from the field.
“We’ve got to figure something out in that regard,” Trenkle added. “Our guys tonight, when they missed a shot, apparently forgot how to hit a layup.”
And it got far worse before it got better. Damion Hunt’s transition finger roll following DeVondre Livingston’s turnover gave the Pirates a 46-32 edge with 13:21 left in the game.
But Garden City kept chipping away, pulling to within a single point with 3:20 to go. With a chance to take the lead, Aaron Ray was called for a travel.
“I’m not sure what that was,” Trenkle said referring to Ray’s turnover. “But that’s the kind of night we had.”
Trailing 65-62 with less than two minutes remaining, the Broncbusters had a chance to draw even, only to have Bennett’s step-back, 3-point heave from the left wing pinball out.
“We didn’t necessarily need that shot there,” Trenkle said. “JT knows that. But it still almost went in.”
Still the game was up in the air, and trailing by four with 30 seconds left, Jamar Gilbert’s two free throws pulled Garden City to within two 69-67.
Then Tuner, who fell a point shy of tying his season high, split a pair of free throws on the other end, setting up a dramatic finish.
Down three with nine seconds to play, Jabar Ray took the inbounds pass and drove to the top of the key. But the defense was waiting for him, forcing him into a double-clutch 3-point shot that bounced off the back rim. King grabbed the rebound, and Independence had their first win over Garden City since 2007.
“He wasn’t the one we drew the play up for,” Trenkle explained afterwards. “But it is what is. He got the shot off.”
(Tate) Turner, totaled 13 points for the Pirates, who improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2006. King chipped in 11 points, including a big layup in the final two minutes that gave Independence a four-point lead (they were his only two points of the second half).
Bennett led the Broncbusters with 15 points but was just 4-of-13 shooting. (Diontae) Jones tallied 13 points and five rebounds, while (Aaron) Ray scored 11.
After struggling to find the range in the early going, Garden City awoke to take a three-point lead with 10:30 remaining in the first half. It was only time they were in front all night. Independence responded by scoring 10 straight points to take a 19-12 edge.
Tip ins: Garden City had won 13 out of their previous 15 non-conference home games before Thursday…Coming into the game, the Pirates were allowing teams to shoot 47 percent from downtown (only 26 teams in the entire country were worse); Garden City could not take advantage, finishing a season-worst 4-of-19 from downtown…There were two lead changes and two ties
Next up: Garden City vs. North Lake-Friday, November 13-7:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio: KWKR
Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-If you ask Howard Coach Earl Diddle to tell you about his career, he might go back in time to 2002.
Back then, the veteran skipper was no stranger to the Perryman Athletic Complex. In fact, he coached the Broncbuster men for one season, and felt very comfortable in his surroundings.
Returning 13 years later to his old stomping grounds with his new team proved one thing Thursday night: the old ball coach felt right at home.
Marie Tsongui scored 14 points; Ashlyn Hoover added 13, and Howard held off a furious Garden City-rally to beat the Broncbusters 63-57 Thursday night.
But it wasn’t a stroll in the park, at least not over the final 14 minutes.
Howard (5-0) built a 46-27 advantage with 6:26 to go in the third. That’s when Shala Dobbins finally woke up.
The freshman, who had scored 20 points or more in her three previous games, scored 12 of her team-high 18 points in the second half, spearheading a 16-0 run that pulled Garden City (3-1) to within three 46-43 with three minutes to go in the third. But after picking up her fourth foul early in the final period, Coach Nick Salazar pulled her out. She returned with five minutes to play in the game only to foul out a minute later.
Twice more in the fourth quarter, Garden City pulled to within three only to be turned back every time.
Trailing 59-56 with 36 seconds left, Salazar instructed point guard Kavita Akula to foul Taylor Tennison despite nearly a 10-second differential between the game clock and the shot clock. Tennison hit both free throws, and the Hawks had a five-point lead. Garden City never scored again.
After shooting 63 percent in the first half, Howard cooled off considerably after halftime, going just 6-of-32 from the field over the final two quarters.
Dobbins was the only Broncbuster in double figures. Akula chipped in nine points on 3-of-8 from downtown. Jaymie Bernbeck added eight points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Tip ins: Garden City fell to 4-2 under Salazar in the Broncbuster Shootout…Howard has now won eight out of the last 10 meetings with the Garden City…Garden City is the first team this season to shoot over 40 percent vs. the Hawks (44 percent)…The Hawks improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2013…The 23 free throws shot by Garden City was a season low
Next up: Garden City vs. Independence-Friday, November 13-5:15 p.m. on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR