Dodge girls storm back; Koster’s 3-point barrage not enough


Box Score

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Dodge City, KS ( Dodge City’s Taylor Nichols, It’s hard to be in the spotlight when you’re one of six children.

But for 32 minutes on Tuesday night, the senior post shined brighter than anyone else on the floor.

Nichols recorded her first double-double of the year with a season-best 17 points and 13 rebounds, the Demons held the Buffaloes to just two field goals over the final seven minutes, and Dodge City beat Garden City 40-32 at the Field House.

“We set the tempo to begin the game,” Buffaloes Head Coach David Upton said afterwards. “But then we let them dictate the terms of the game. In the second half, we let the pressure get to us.”

Just like they did Friday night in Guymon, Garden City (6-10, 0-4) stormed out of the gates, building an 8-0 lead thanks to 3-pointers by Abbie Dart and Tiffany Butler. After Nichols scored five in a row to cut the deficit to three, Dart canned back-to-back trays to give the Buffaloes a 14-6 edge.

“We were running whatever we wanted early in the game,” Upton explained. “Obviously that changed in the second half.”

Despite the Buffaloes missing four of their five shot attempts in the second quarter, they held a 22-16 halftime lead.

Then the pendulum swung massively in the other direction.

Dodge City (10-5, 4-0) blitzed Garden City with 10 straight points in the third quarter, taking the lead on Kaylyn Maple’s two free throws. Bailey Shelor split a pair at the line before Harshberger connected on a jumper to put the Demons up four.

Isabel Longoria and Aerianna Stinemetz netted consecutive baskets for the Buffaloes to knot the game at 30. But Dodge City held the brown and white scoreless over the next six minutes, closing the game on a 12-2 run. They took the lead for good on Nichols two free throws with 6:31 to go in the fourth. The senior scored the first six points of the period.

“In the second half, we gave them (Dodge City) way too many second chance opportunities,” Upton said. “

Harshberger added 12 points for the Demons, who beat the Buffaloes for the fourth straight time. Tia Bradshaw tallied five but was just 2-of-11 from the field.

Dart scored nine of her team-best 15 points in the opening quarter for Garden City. Butler added seven and four boards. Josie Calzonetti, who scored a career-high 21 points on Friday, was held to just two on 1-of-5 shooting.

Tip ins: For the first time all season, Garden City lost a game in which they led at the half (now 5-1)…Garden City held Dodge City to their third lowest scoring output of the season…There were two lead changes and two ties

Next up: Garden City vs. Great Bend-Friday, February 12 5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM;; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWkR




Box Score

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Dodge City, KS ( was no question who Dodge City Coach Dennis Hamilton told his guys to stop heading into Tuesday night’s game.

“Jared Koster is someone you always have to keep an eye on,” he said on Saturday. “He’s a streaky shooter.”

Streaky yes, and for one eight-minute stretch, no one in the gym could stop the senior marksmen.

But in the end, it didn’t really matter.

Dayton McGroarty scored 15 points, Noah Williams pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds, and Dodge City overcame Koster’s brilliant 20-point second-quarter eruption to beat the Buffaloes 47-41 at the Field House.

“We tried to put different guys on him,” Hamilton said. “But he’s that good of a player that it didn’t matter.”

Koster drilled six straight 3-pointers over the final 4:45 of the first half to erase an 11-point deficit and give the Buffaloes a 26-25 lead at the break. His final triple splashed through the net while he was standing with his heels just inside the sideline on the left wing. The one prior to that was nothing but net from 35-feet. It was an offensive display that was historic in nature and problematic at the same time.

Koster finished the first half with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting. The rest of the team combined for four on just 1-of-10 from the field.

“Our guys did a good job of finding him,” Buffaloes Coach Jacy Holloway said. “When a guy is hot like that, he needs to have the ball in his hands.”

But the worst thing that happened to Koster was halftime. In the third and fourth quarters, the senior was just 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. He scored just four points over the final 16 minutes.

Dodge City (6-9, 2-2) eventually pounded Garden City (6-11, 0-4) into submission, outrebounding the Buffaloes 37-18, including 14 offensive boards. The Demons scored 16 points off second-chance opportunities.

“We’re struggling in all aspects right now,” Holloway said. “Our guys are getting good looks and not knocking down shots. That’s what it comes down to.”

The Buffaloes shot just 22 percent in the second half and were outscored 22-15.

Still it was a one-point game with 3:30 to go after Garrett Doll split two free throws. But Eric Reid, who torched Garden City in the Hatchet game back in October, sank the brown and white with a backbreaking 3-pointer from the left corner. Bryce Unruh and McGroarty added layups that finally finished off the pesky Buffaloes.

Garden City went the final seven minutes without a field goal.

Unruh scored 10 points for the Demons, who improved to 3-4 on their home floor this season. Williams scored seven and Reid had six.

Erwin Leal and DeMarcus Elliott each had four apiece for Garden City. Doll scored three but was 0-for-9 from the floor.

“We have to find a way to get these guys confidence,” Holloway said. “Guys are struggling to knock down shots and it’s affecting them.”

On the opposite side of that, Dodge City couldn’t miss in the early going. McGroarty scored nine points in the opening frame, including seven of the first nine in the game. His drive and dunk in the second quarter put the Demons up 21-11 with 3:50 to play.

“It’s a big win in the grand scheme of things,” Hamilton noted. “We still are mathematically alive for the conference title. And obviously substate seeding is very important.”

With the win, the Red Demons forged ahead to the second seed in the playoff race behind first-place Wichita South. Garden City remains in a tussle with Wichita Northwest and Wichita North for the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds.

Next up: Garden City vs. Great Bend-Friday, February 12-7:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM;; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio app: KWKR