Listen to the complete game in our archives section
Concordia, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-In his first two seasons, Brady Trenkle’s teams had never experience a home-playoff game.
With Saturday’s win over Cloud County, what once seemed like a fantasy might turn into reality.
Josh Fleming scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the second half, Aaron Ray drilled five 3-pointers, and Garden City disposed of the Thunderbirds 75-62 at Arley Bryant Gymnasium.
The win didn’t lock up an opening-round game at the Perryman Athletic Complex, but it certainly helped the brown and gold’s cause.
“I’m so proud of the way these guys played again tonight,” Trenkle said afterwards. “(Aaron) Ray jumped out and hit shots right when we needed them. Josh (Fleming) was great. I didn’t even realize that Josh missed the first game against Cloud. That made a huge difference.”
Fleming was suspended for the first meeting after picking up two technical fouls in a loss at Seward County. He made up for lost time in a big-time way on Saturday.
Fleming was sensational in the second half, going 7-for-14 from the field. In all, he hit a season-high five triples, including back-to-back treys that stretched Garden City’s lead to 11 with 9:47 to go. His final 3-pointer of the night put a fork in Cloud County’s comeback efforts and gave Garden City a 14-point edge with 4:25 remaining.
“This is a huge road win,” Trenkle explained. “It’s a tough place to play, and our guys got it done.”
And for the most part, despite a couple of hiccups, Garden City (17-12, 9-9) made it look easy, building their lead to as many as 18 points in the second half.
(Aaron) Ray scored 17 points and started each half by dialing it up from long distance. The freshman hit consecutive triples to begin the game, then hit a backbreaking 3-pointer a minute into the second half when Cloud County (9-20, 2-16) had cut the Broncbusters once nine-point lead down to two.
The Thunderbirds, who came into Saturday’s game having lost back-to-back games and 10 out of their last 11, stayed within striking distance for most of the first half.
After the Broncbusters built their lead to 29-20 with 5:57 to go in the first period, Cloud County made their move. Duby Maduegbunam hit two free throws, Demonte Ojinnaka skied in for a transition slam and buried a 3-pointer, and Jesse Patrick hit a baseline jumper that pulled the home squad to within three. They trailed by five at the break.
In the second half Devonte Dixon connected on a long 3-pointer that cut the Garden City advantage to 34-32. But that’s as close as they would get the rest of the way. (Aaron Ray) splashed home three triples in the first three minutes of the final frame, Diontae Jones added a bucket, and just like that Garden City was up 10.
“We responded well tonight,” Trenkle said. “Even with some of our guys not having their best game, we played well.”
One of those guys was James McNeal, who was 1-for-11 from the field.
“James’s mom and girlfriend were in the stands tonight,” Trenkle said. “It was the first time they had a chance to watch him play college basketball. I think he was nervous. But he missed some shots near the rim. He’s normally money on those. I told him next time they’re in the stands, make sure you go 11-for-11.”
Trenkle showed his support for his young point guard after the final buzzer had sounded, putting his arms around him and Fleming, the two guys that have been instrumental in the Broncbusters resurgence.
Tip ins: If Garden City beats Hutchinson on Monday night, they could end up as high as the No. 5 seed in the region tournament and as low as No. 6
Next up: Garden City at Hutchinson-Monday, February 22-8 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR
Listen to the complete game in our archives section
Conocordia, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Garden City’s run towards their first conference title in 13 years took a major hit on Saturday.
And it happened on the road, a place where the Bronncbusters had been money all season long.
Chelsie Kizart scored 14 of her 26 points in the second half, Kaley Broeckelman tallied 16, and Cloud County showed no mercy with an 81-54 victory over the Broncbusters at Arley Bryant Gymansium.
And unfortunately, the final score wasn’t even that close.
“We couldn’t hit shots, we made silly turnovers, and I don’t think we were ready to play this game,” Garden City Head Coach Nick Salazar said afterwards. “When we got on the bus this morning we were ready. I’m not sure what happened when we got here.”
What happened was a major shocker to the packed house in Concordia. But it wasn’t the score that was the head scratcher, it was how dominating the Thunderbirds were from start to finish.
After Donasja Scott hit a layup to begin the contest, Kizart took the game over for Cloud County, scoring nine straight points to open up a 9-2 advantage. Erin Alexander followed with a layup, Darby Price completed a three-point play and Shannon Owens added a nifty hook to give the Thunderbirds a 20-9 lead after one.
That run continued in the second quarter. Broeckelman buried two treys in the first two minutes of the period, Kizert knocked down a triple, and Cloud County had a 19-point edge with 4:21 to go in the half.
“The only reason this game was close early on was because we were getting calls,” Salazar said. “Other than that, we couldn’t hit a shot.”
Garden City (20-9, 14-4) connected on just 3-of-10 shots in the second quarter but they were 15-for-18 from the line during that 10-minute stretch. Shala Dobbins hit four free throws in the final 90 seconds of the half, capping off a 9-0 run that pulled the Broncbusters to within seven at the half 37-30.
But all that momentum evaporated during the intermission. The rest can only be described as one of the most brilliant halves of offensive basketball seen this season in the Jayhawk Conference.
Broeckelman hit a trey to begin the second half, and Price and Alexander followed with buckets to build the Cloud County (20-9, 12-6) lead back to double digits. From that point on, the Thunderbirds couldn’t miss.
With less than five minutes to play in the third, Cloud County stepped on the Broncbusters throats. Kizert scored nine of the next 11 Thunderbird points, Broeckelman hit her third 3-pointer of the half, and Cloud County used a 27-0 run to blow the game open. They led by 37 early in the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t use a timeout during that stretch,” Salazar explained. “The reason is because I only had one remaining. I had to burn two during the first half when they (Cloud County) made that run. “We just couldn’t stop them.”
The numbers speak for themselves. Cloud County was 13-for-20 from the field in the third quarter and 4-for-5 from downtown, outscoring the Broncbusters 33-7 in the period.
Just like that the game was over. Just like that, for the first time in months, Salazar’s bunch looked mortal.
“It’s a loss that we have to respond from,” Salazar said. “How do we bounce back? We still have a chance to win this thing. Now we have to show up on Monday against Hutch.”
Those chances of winning the Jayhawk regular-season crown for the first time since 2003, could come into question because of two major absences. Both DeRae Lewis and Dominqiue Maxwell missed the game for disciplinary issues. Their status for the regular-season finale is still up in the air.
“I don’t know what will happen,” Salazar said. “All I know is we have to get ready to play Hutch. That’s our focus. Anything else is just noise.”
Tip ins: During Cloud’s 27-0 run, the Broncbusters went more than 10 minutes without scoring a single point…It’s the second 27-0 run Garden City has seen this year-the last belonged to them vs. Dodge City
Next up: Garden City vs. Hutchinson-Monday, February 22-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR