November 28, 2022

Broncbuster women storm into first place; men end skid in free-throw fest


Box Score

Listen to the complete game in our archives section

Colby, KS (’s been nearly two decades since the Garden City women won a regular-season conference title.

Saturday, with a little help from Cloud County, the Broncbusters chances of having history repeat itself improved dramatically.

Donasja Scott scored a season-high 18 points, Kavita Akula buried four 3-pointers, and Garden City beat Colby 71-58 at the Community Building. That coupled with Cloud County’s victory over Hutchinson, and the Broncbusters are now in sole possession of first place in the Jayhawk Conference.

“It’s just one game,” Garden City Coach Nick Salazar explained. “It means nothing if we don’t win the next one.”

Humbleness aside, Salazar’s team took care of business against a team that was basically left for dead two months ago. On Saturday, Garden City (20-7, 14-2) helped the Trojans finally pull the plug.

Scott scored 10 of her 18 points in the second half, and Akula hit two triples after half time, the latter of those treys gave the Broncbusters a 13-point lead late in the fourth. They would stretch that to 14 when the freshman point guard drilled a deep 2-pointer with the shot-clock winding down.

“I’m glad this one is over,” Salazar admitted afterwards. “The rest of the way we play really good teams. It’s going to be a challenge. We will see what happens.”

Colby (4-23, 0-16) kept things interesting early. Janea Dennis knocked down a triple a minute into the contest to give the Trojans a 3-2 edge. After Garden City grabbed a six-point lead late in the period on Shala Dobbins bucket, the Trojans closed the quarter on a 7-2 run to pull to within one 20-19.

In the second, Aubrey Thomas, who splashed home 13 points off the bench, drilled a tray that gave Colby their largest lead of the game 25-22. The Broncbusters stormed back with a 16-6 run to take a 38-31 advantage into the locker room.

Akula finished with 17 for the Broncbusters, who won for the 11th time in their last 12 games. Jaymie Bernbeck added 14, Shala Dobbins 12 and DeRae Lewis had seven.

Dennis netted 15 for the Trojans, who lost their 18th straight game. It was also their 27th conference loss in their last 29 contests.

Next up: Garden City vs. Seward County-Wednesday, February 17-5:15 p.m. pregame; 5:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM;; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR




Box Score

Listen to the complete game in our archives section

Colby, KS ( couple of years ago, the NCAA made it a point-of-emphasis to call more hand-check fouls in an effort to increase scoring.

Their vision, for the most part came to fruition on Saturday night at the Community Building. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as the big wigs would have liked.

Josh Fleming scored 22 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, Aaron Ray added 21, and Garden City survived a late scare with an 85-84 victory over Colby.

But the final score wasn’t the story; the referees were.

“At the end of the day, these guys did a really good job,” Trenkle said. “But it’s hard to tell a guy what a foul is because it seems like it changes all the time. We haven’t been getting the same calls all season.”

On Saturday, Trenkle and Colby Coach Rusty Grafel watched as their teams combined to shoot 108 free throws.

James Naismith might be have rolled over in his grave.

There were eight fouls called in the first three minutes of the game. In fact, Garden City (15-12, 7-9) was over the limit at the 14-minute mark. The teams shot 37 free throws in the first 20 minutes.

And just think: if Garden City, one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the nation, didn’t miss 21 freebies, the dramatic finish would have been nothing more than a runaway. The Trojans could have made the same argument. They were 36-for-57.

“We missed a lot of free throws,” Trenkle explained. “And it could have cost it.”

It almost did.

Fleming, who entered Saturday’s game as an 83 percent foul shooter, missed six of them, including two in the final five seconds that gave Colby a chance to win it. Anei Anei grabbed the rebound and gave it off to Noskie Obanya. But the freshman wasted his opportunity, driving to the rim before passing up an open look as time expired.

It was an unusual ending to in inconceivably wacky game.

“That’s how it goes sometimes,” Trenkle said. “We lost earlier this year on a tip-in at the buzzer. We’ve been on both ends.”

Garden City missed 14 free throws in the second half alone, and only three times in the final 20 minutes did one of Trenkle’s shooters hit both charity shots.

Even with the free throw futility, the Broncbusters held an 11-point lead with 5:59 to play. But Colby (15-11, 8-8) wouldn’t go away, outscoring Garden City 24-12 over the final 5:51.

Trailing 85-82 with less than 10 seconds remaining, the Trojans got the break they needed when Fleming split two free throws. Following a timeout, Brian Starr handed it off to Obanya, who weaved through traffic on the left wing before pulling up for what he thought was a game-tying 3-pointer. The ball splashed through the net, and the freshman guard jumped in the air in celebration. But it was short lived when the officials stopped play to change it from a 3-pointer to a 2-pointer. Apparently Obayna’s toe was on the line.

“They (Colby) hit some big shots down the stretch,” Trenkle said. “Give them credit because they kept things interesting throughout.”

Inches cost Colby, although Fleming’s two misses at the line seconds later gave them another chance before Obanya’s miscue in the final seconds.

Jabar Ray scored 12 points for Garden City, who snapped a three-game losing streak. J.T. Bennett, who played with a sore knee, added nine.

Starr paced Colby with 20 points. Obanya chipped in 16.

“Our guys never gave up on this season,” Trenkle said. “I’ve got some very good players. They understand that this thing is a grind. And if we can get mostly healthy by region tournament time, I think we will be a tough out.”

The game started awkwardly for both sides with neither team hitting a shot for the first three minutes. Loy’s layup gave the Broncbusters a 4-1 advantage with 16:55 to go in the first half. Brandon Jones added a one-handed stuff, (Jabar) Ray had a three-point play and two free throws, and Bennett buried a 3-pointer to give Garden City an 18-10 lead.

But Colby answered the bell, outscoring the Broncbusters 25-16 over the final 10:04 of the period to take a 35-34 edge into the break.

Tip ins: It was only the fourth time this year that Garden City won a game after trailing at the half (4-11 in those games)…Five different players fouled out for Garden City: Antorian Moore, Loy, (Aaron) Ray, James McNeal and Tykei Hallman…Colby lost two: Layton Leydig and Bilal Abdur-Rahim…The 108 combined free throws was a season high in the Jayhawk this season; the men’s basketball record for most free throws combined in a game is 130, which was set on January 26, 1953-Arizona vs. Northern Arizona

Next up: Garden City vs. Seward County-after women’s game on 99.9 FM;; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR