February 2, 2023

Broncbuster men pull one out late; women muscle past Cloud County


Box Score

Listen to the complete game in our archives section

Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Aesthetically pleasing it was not. But in the end, Garden City will take it.

Diontae Jones was one of three Broncbusters in double figures with 17 points, Aaron Ray and Jabar Ray Chipped in 10 a piece, and Garden City held off a late Cloud County rally for a 73-70 victory Saturday night at the Perryman Athletic Complex.

“I’m not going to call this a pretty win,” Garden City Head Coach Brady Trenkle said. “But it’s a win, and now we can move onto Hutch.”

Despite shooting just 33 percent in the first half, Garden City (14-9, 6-6) built their lead to as many as nine following Zach Beard’s 3-pointer with 2:15 left. But two buckets and a free throw by Alex Martin pulled Cloud County (8-15, 1-11) to within five at the intermission

“Our legs were tired,” Trenkle added. “I got these guys up early this morning just because I wanted to. They knew that this stretch of games would be trying. So I wanted to tire them out a little.”

In the final 20 minutes, the Broncbusters finally found their legs, connecting on 13-of-22 from the field (59 percent). Brandon Jones levitating leap to the rim following by (Aaron) Ray’s and-1 put the brown and gold up 58-46. (Aaron) Ray then hit a jumper and a driving layup, James McNeal split a pair of free throws and it was 65-53 with 8:04 to play.

“We have to finish better; I’ve been saying it all season,” Trenkle said. “We let them (Cloud County) hang around.”

Garden City’s kryptonite on Saturday night was T-Birds point guard Aamahne Santos. The freshman did his best to try and spoil the Broncbusters homecoming, taylling 21 points on 5-of-7 from the floor, which included a stretch where he scored nine of his team’s 11 points to make it a six-point game with 3:30 to play.

hallman dunk

Then Demonte Ojinnaka and Devonte Dixon buried treys, and Martin, who had missed two free throws the previous time down the floor, connected on a pair of charity shots with 41 seconds, and it was a one-point contest 71-70.

Then Garden City nearly gave the game away when McNeal inexplicably turned it over with 15 seconds remaining. Chad Esbaugh put the ball in Santos’s hands, and he drove left to the rim only to have Jamar Gilbert knock it away. (Diontae Jones) splashed home two free throws before Ojinnaka’s desperation heave came after the final buzzer, handing Cloud County their seventh straight loss.

“Credit Cloud County,” Trenkle said. “Santos played well. He was attacking us all night and hitting jumpers. But we found a way to win it. I won’t even show my guys the game film of this one because it does nothing to help us for Hutch on Monday.”

Dixon and Ojinnaka scored 13 points for the T-Birds, who have gone winless since January 2.

jones dunk 2

J.T. Bennett scored six of his eight points for the Broncbusters in the first five minutes of the game. In all, 12 different players scored for Trenkle.

Bennett got Garden City cooking early with a triple from the left corner 20 seconds in. He added an and-1 layup a few minutes later giving the Broncbusters a 10-8 advantage. They took the lead for good when Loy scored to make it 18-17 with 12 minutes to go in the half.  

Tip ins: Garden City won the game despite being without leading scorer Josh Fleming, who was serving a one-game suspension after he was tossed from Wednesday’s game vs. Seward County…Garden City was outrebounded 35-34 and grabbed only one offensive rebound over the final 20 minutes

Next up: Garden City at Hutchinson-Monday, February 1-7:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR





Box Score

Listen to the complete game in our archives section

Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Over the previous two seasons, the Garden City women’s program found multiple ways to lose close games.

In 2016, those same inadequacies that haunted Nick Salazar’s team in the past are a distant memory. If nothing else, Saturday night went a long way in proving that.

Despite missing 13 of her 17 shots, Shala Dobbins managed to pour in a game-high 20 points, Donasja Scott pulled down a season-best 14 rebounds, and the Broncbusters won their eighth straight game with a 64-59 victory over Cloud County at the Perryman Athletic Complex.

“I don’t like using the term winning ugly, but that’s pretty much the case here,” Salazar said after the game. “But all the credit goes to Cloud County. We struggled with their man-to-man defense all night. But our girls stepped up and made plays when we had to. That’s why we won the game.”

akula 3

Doubt could have easily crept in after the T-Birds erased a six-point, second-half deficit following Chelsie Kizart’s 3-point play that put Cloud County (14-9, 6-6) in front 47-45 with 6:09 remaining in the fourth quarter.

But Garden City (16-6, 12-1) answered 20 seconds later with two free throws by Jenna Classen, Scott converted an and-1 layup, and the Broncbusters never trailed again. Scott finished with a season-high 14 points.

Kavita Akula added 12 points, nine of those coming in the second half-including a cold-blooded trey with the shot clock winding down and 1:49 to play that stretched the lead to six 55-49.

“Kavita didn’t have her best shooting game, but she hit some big ones down the stretch,” Salazar said. “She does so much for us.”

Cloud County made things interesting in the final minute thanks to a couple of missed free throws by Dobbins. Kaley Broeckelman’s triple from the corner with six seconds made it a three-point game. Dobbins though iced the game by hitting two free ones late, and Garden City pulled into a first-place tie with No. 8 Hutchinson.

“Our girls know what’s on the line now,” Salazar said. “All of our focus from this point on is on Hutch. They’re so good and so well coached; it’s going to be tough to go in there and win. But I know one thing: our team loves ending streaks. Let’s see if we can do it again on Monday.”


Kizard paced Cloud County with 16 points but was just 6-of-20 from the floor. Erin Alexander posted her fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 boards. Katelyn Thomson, who drilled six treys in a game vs. Garden City last season, finished with nine points on 3-of-8 from long distance. Kristina Farber tallied six and nine boards. Darby Price had 10 rebounds off the bench.

Dominique Maxwell chipped in six points and seven boards for Garden City, who beat the T-Birds for the sixth time in their last seven meetings. Classen scored five but missed all five shots from the field. DeRae Lewis was 1-of-10 from the floor but pulled down 10 boards.

For much of the first half, the game was played on Cloud County’s terms. But the T-Birds could never pull away. During the first 20 minutes, they had four separate two-point leads. They even took a one-point edge into the half. But Akula drained two 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the third as the Broncbusters built their lead to six 37-31.

Tip ins: Garden City won for just the second time this season when trailing at the half (they’re now 2-4 in those games)…Garden City shot less than 40 percent for the second time this season finishing 18-of-60 from the field (30 percent)…Cloud County became just the eighth team this season to outrebound the Broncbusters (49-45)…The 34 free throws attempted by Garden City was the most since January 9 vs. Cowley when they shot 36; they were 24-of-34 (71 percent)

Next up: Garden City at No. 8 Hutchinson-Monday, February 1-5:15 p.m. pregame; 5:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR