Listen to the complete game in our archives section
Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-For the last few years, Liberal has been the doormats of the Western Athletic Conference.
On Tuesday night at the Garden, the Redskins proved that to be ancient history.
Deladris Green notched his fourth double-double of the year with 22 points and a season-high 17 rebounds, Timothy Fitzgerald scored 11, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in double overtime, and Liberal topped Garden City 67-64.
It was the Redskins first victory in Garden City since 2009.
“It came down to us hitting shots in overtime, and we couldn’t do it,” an exhausted Buffaloes Coach Jacy Holloway said afterwards. “It was a game that could have went either way.”
Trailing 55-52 with 20 seconds left in the fourth, Holloway put the ball in Koster’s hands. Liberal coach Scott Hinkle instructed his guys to foul, which they did. But it was only their sixth of the half, and the Buffaloes had it side out of bounds. Hinkle tried to call a timeout; maybe to tell his guys to foul again. But the referees never saw or heard him. He sure wishes they did.
Holloway once again gave it to Koster, and the senior delivered, burying a 25-foot straight on 3-pointer just as the buzzer sounded to tie the game at 55.
“Jared has shown that he can hit big shots,” Holloway said. “We had all the confidence in the world.”
In overtime, Koster split a pair of free throws and Doll hit a runner with 1:40 to go to put Garden City (3-6, 0-2) up 58-55. Then the Buffaloes went silent, and an area that’s plagued the brown and white all season long came up to bite them in the final 20 seconds of the first overtime.
With Garden City leading 59-57, Fitzgerald missed a go-ahead 3-pointer from the left corner. But Kylan Thomas grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. The junior hit both free throws, and the game was tied at 59.
Koster had a chance to win it with less than 10 seconds to play, but his layup attempt was partially blocked, sending the game into a second overtime.
“We just went ice cold,” Holloway said.
The Buffaloes went the next 4:30 without a field goal while Fitzgerald put the Redskins in front for good with his trey from the left wing with 1:40 left in the second extra session. That sparked a 6-0 run to put Liberal (6-2, 1-1) up six with 30 seconds to play.
Griff Brunson’s deep 3-pointer pulled the Buffaloes to within three with two seconds left, but it was too little too late as the Redskins beat Garden City for the first time since 2009.
“We had to change our defense a little bit tonight,” Holloway explained. “And, for the most part, I thought our guys played well.”
The numbers definitely showed it. Liberal shot 37 percent (23-of-62)-their second worst performance of the season. The Redskins also missed 11 free throws-10 of those in the second half.
Cade Hinkle scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, as the Redskins erased a five-point deficit in the final 5:30. Cole Evans scored nine and pulled down 10 rebounds, his fourth double-figure rebound game this season.
Doll tallied 18 points for Garden City, 10 in the first period. Koster scored 15 but missed 14 of his 18 shots. Scott Schmidt added 11, including a big 3 that gave the Buffaloes their largest lead of the game in the fourth.
“We’re getting there,” Holloway said. “But it’s the same story: when we miss shots, it’s hard for us to win.”
The Buffaloes were a combined 2-of-12 from the field in the two overtime periods.
Doll put Garden City on his back early, scoring 10 straight points to give the Buffaloes a 19-16 lead after one. But Liberal answered with a 12-0 run that included a perfect alley-oop pass from Fitzgerald to Thomas, who flushed it with two hands. Green added a layup, and the Redskins had their largest lead of the night 28-19 with 2:18 left in the first half.
Garden City countered with seven unanswered of their own, capped by Koster’s triple that pulled them to within one 30-29 at the break.
Tip ins: Garden City shot 39 percent from the field (23-of-59)-it’s the second straight game that they shot under 40 percent…The Buffaloes were outrebounded for the seventh time this season (44-33); they allowed 15 offensive rebounds
Next up: Garden City vs. Hays-Friday, January 15-7:30 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)-If there’s one thing that drives Garden City girls coach David Upton crazy, its turnovers.
Unfortunately for the ninth-year coach, the last two games have done nothing to lighten his anxiety.
The Buffaloes gave it away 18 times on Tuesday night, Jada Mickens scored 10 points despite not playing most of the fourth quarter after fouling out, and Liberal beat Garden City on their home floor for the first time since 2009 38-31.
“We work on it all the time,” Upton said referring to his team’s turnover woes. “It’s very frustrating. But these girls fought their tails off. That’s not the problem.”
Those turnovers coupled with poor shooting, put Garden City (4-5, 0-2) in a nine-point hole three minutes into the second quarter. The Buffaloes missed 12 of their first 18 shots from the floor.
The Redskins weren’t much better, but forced seven Garden City turnovers in the second period, outscoring them 11-4 to take an 18-12 lead into the intermission.
“It’s frustrating because we’re just not knocking down shots,” Upton said. “Abbie played her tail off and had two great looks from 3 in the fourth quarter; had a perfect stroke but the ball didn’t bounce our way. Sometimes when you don’t see the ball go through the net, it can get in your head. And that’s what I think is happening.
Those shooting struggles continued in the second half as the Buffaloes were just 6-of-23 from the field (26 percent). They also finished the night 0-for-8 from 3, their first o-fer from downtown this season.
Despite their struggles, Garden City pulled to within four twice in the final 3:30. The second time they had a chance to make it a one-possession game only to have Kyra Bellows miss a free throw with 1:32 remaining and the Buffaloes trailing 35-31. Garden City never scored again. Liberal (6-2, 2-0) hit their charity shots, and the Redskins punctuated their best start to a regular season since 2009-2010.
Abbie Dart and Joslyn Munoz each scored seven to pace the Buffaloes, who shot a season worst 22 percent.
Ali Lucero and Laci Rush each scored eight for the Redskins. Carolina Limon added four and eight rebounds.
Tip ins: Liberal ended an eight-game losing streak to Garden City…The Buffaloes have shot under 30 percent three times this season, including back-to-back games…After missing 11 free throws (4-of-15) vs. Great Bend, the Buffaloes were 9-of-18 vs. Liberal…It’s the first time Garden City didn’t hit a 3-pointer since going 0-for-7 vs. Holcomb last season-ending a streak of 24 straight games…Garden City has now turned it over 45 times in their last two games (27 vs. Great Bend)
Next up: Garden City vs. Hays-Friday, January 15-5:45 p.m. pregame; 5:45 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR