February 8, 2023

Broncbuster women win again; Barton county rips through men


Box Score

Listen to the complete game in our archives section

Great Bend, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Barton County watched the film and read all the scouting reports. Their final determination was to stop Shala Dobbins, and for the most part they did.

They just totally forgot about Kavita Akula. Now that was a mistake.

The freshman guard canned a season-high eight 3-pointers, finished with 24 points, and Garden City overcame a sluggish start to beat Barton County 64-58 on Wednesday night.

“I’m so proud of Kavita,” Head Coach Nick Salazar said afterwards. “She’s been having problems with her feet and still came through when we needed her.”

And boy did they need her.

After trailing by as many as eight in the first half, Akula went to work-draining three treys in a second quarter that saw the Broncbusters outscore the Cougars 19-11. They closed the half on a 9-0 run to take a 32-31 lead into the break.

“I wasn’t shocked at how we played,” Salazar added. “Our team isn’t feeling very well right now. They’re all dealing with some illness. But I never doubted that we would come back and win the game.”

Barton County (10-8, 2-5) did their best to make that a struggle.

Jalisa Jones and-1 layup gave the Cougars the lead back early in the third. Then Dominique Baker followed suit by scoring nine of her 11 points in the period, and Barton County held a 47-43 lead heading into the fourth.

“Our team has figured out how to win these types of games,” Salazar said. “That’s all part of the matriculation process.”

It also helps to have a sharp-shooting point guard.

Akula saved her best for last, draining three straight 3-pointers to begin the final frame, giving Garden City (13-6, 7-1) a 51-47 lead. After the Cougars fought back to tie the game at 53, Dobbins helped out her backcourt mate with a steal and a layup. Less than two minutes later, Dominique Maxwell hit two free throws that sparked a 7-0 run and put the game away.

“We still have a long way to go,” Salazar said. “But it’s nice to win these games when we don’t play our best.”

Dobbins finished with 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Jaymie Bernbeck added eight points and seven boards and Maxwell chipped in eight. Her presence though was felt more on the other end of the floor.

Kilee Harris scored 14 first half points to help the Cougars build a 31-23 lead late in the first half. But during the final 20 minutes, Maxwell held her to two points on 0-for-4 shooting.

“Dominique did an incredible job on Kilee,” Salazar said. “She struggles sometimes offensively, but her defense is what saved us.”

Harris hit four 3-pointers during the first 20 minutes, but Maxwell was attached to her hip for the final two quarters.


Jones and Unruh each scored 11 for the Cougars, who dropped to 0-3 in conference home games this season.

Tip ins: Garden City won despite turning the ball over nine times in the first half (17 for the game)…Garden City won for the fifth straight time in Great Bend  (Barton still leads all-time series 56-22)…Garden City is now 6-0 in true road games and 5-0 in conference road contests…Jenna Classen played 10 minutes because of flu-like symptoms…Leondra Hawkins missed the game because of illness

Next up: Garden City at Dodge City-Wednesday, January 20-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 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

Great Bend, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Garden City’s slow starts are something of major concern for Brady Trenkle.

If nothing else, Wednesday night proved that.

Derek Dorn scored 18 points, Dequandre Dentmond added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Barton County surged past Garden City with a wire-to-wire 84-65 victory.

“I’m so frustrated right now,” Trenkle said afterwards. “We practice all these things, and then when it comes to game time, it’s like our guys forget what we are doing.”

That was evident after Trenkle used two timeouts in the first five minutes once his team fell down 8-0. J.T. Bennet’s elbow jumper got the Broncbusters on the board with 16:30 to play in opening half. They trailed 8-2; that’s the closest they would get the rest of the night.

Barton County (14-4, 6-1) hit 10 of their first 19 shots, and forced eight Broncbuster turnovers in the first 10 minutes, building their lead to as many as 19 in the first half. They led 40-22 at the intermission.

“We knew everything that Barton was going to run,” Trenkle said. “And we still couldn’t stop it. We had guys out of position all night. They’re battling, but it’s just a struggle right now. I can’t explain it.”

What is also inexplicable: the free throw disparity-again. The cougars went 32-of-39 from the stripe, while the Broncbusters finished 13-of-19. It’s the fourth straight game and the ninth time this season that the opponent hit more charity shots than Garden City attempted.

“That’s our fault,” Trenkle added. “I keep telling my guys to absorb contact; not go around it when they get to the rim. But we keep trying to avoid it, and that’s why we’re not getting the calls. Our opponents know the rule-credit them.”

Barton County shot 28 free throws in the second half, helping them build a 57-35 lead with 13:31 to go. Then Jabar Ray nearly pulled off one of the most incredible one-man comebacks in recent memory.

The sophomore transfer from Denmark Tech, hit four straight 3-pointers, and scored 16 straight points during a four-minute stretch with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game that pulled the Broncbusters to within seven 61-54. But the Cougars had the last laugh.

With Garden City’s defense bearing down, Craig Fletchall’s team needed to make a play to put the game out of reach. And as the shot clock was winding down with 6:30 to play, it was freshman guard John Barbee, who sunk the Broncbuster’s comeback hopes with a desperation 3-pointer from the left corner that splashed through the net as the shot-clock buzzer went off.

“That’s what good teams do,” Trenkle said. “When they need a basket, they get it. We finally found some things that worked for us, and he quickly ended that.”

That triple sparked a 23-11 Barton County run that put the game out of reach.

Ezekiel Charles scored 16 points for the Cougars, who beat Garden City for the second straight season at home and the fourth time in their last five meetings in Great Bend.

Ray scored 20 of the last 24 Broncbuster points; he finished with 23. Tykei Hallman and Diontae Jones each added eight.

Tip ins: It’s the fourth straight loss for Garden City-all of them by double digits marking the first time that’s happened during the Brady Trenkle era…Garden City was outrebounded for a fourth straight game (34-23)…Last year Garden City built their own 18-point lead only to have the Cougars complete a 30-point turnaround and win by 12 81-69

Next up: Garden City at Dodge City-Wednesday, January 20-8 p.m. tip 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR