By Mike Pilosof
Listen to the complete game in our archives section
Garden City, KS-Josh Fleming was pretty antsy sitting at home Tuesday night. Brady Trenkle’s star guard was serving the second, of his two-game suspension after being tossed vs. Barton County.
Fleming was finally back on Saturday, and took all his frustrations out on Independence.
The sophomore scored 20 points on an efficient 7-of-11 shooting, Ben Howze finished with 18 and nine rebounds, and Garden City stormed past the Pirates 95-63 at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
“Our guys missed Josh,” Trenkle said. “It was good to have him back.”
Fleming came off the bench for the first time this season and did not disappoint; promptly scoring eight straight points to give Garden City a 33-21 lead with six minutes to go in the first half.
“We were complete tonight,” Trenkle added. “I didn’t think we would win by this much.”
Whether his team surprised him or not, the Broncbusters offensive assault was something to watch.
Garden City (8-1, 4-1) shot 53 percent in the first half and hit 8 out of their first 11 shots to begin the second. They finished the night 32-of-60 (53 percent).
“We shot the ball well,” Trenkle said. “It’s funny because before the game I was talking to Coach (Tony) Turner and he said he couldn’t figure out our offense. I told him that we are very free on that end as long as my guys play defense.”
That defense held Independence (4-4, 1-4) to just 34 percent on 24-of-70 and forced 18 turnovers.
“We did tonight what we were able to do against Allen on Tuesday,” Trenkle explained. “We got them out of what they wanted to do.”
The two teams went back and forth early on before Aaron Ray ignited a 10-0 run by hitting pullup jumper; converting a three-point play and drilling a 3-pointer to make it 19-9 Garden City with 11:58 to go in the half. That surge prompted Turner to call a timeout.
The Broncbuster lead swelled to 14 at the break 46-32.
“We were consistent all night on both ends,” Trenkle said.
The Pirates gave Garden City a little scare in the second half, scoring the first 10 points of the frame to pull to within four 46-42 with 17:45 to go. But Naradain James finally ended the run with a jumper nearly three minutes into the period, and the Broncbusters never looked back.
Garden City put the game away with a 14-0 run midway through the second half, and Howze was the main catalyst. The sophomore splashed home seven straight points before Victor Dukes split a pair at the line, giving the Broncbusters a commanding 80-53 edge with 6:08 remaining.
“It’s one game so I’m not sure what it means,” Trenkle said. “My guys still aren’t satisfied.”
Garden City again dominated on the glass, outrebounding Independence 49-32. It was the eighth time this season that the Broncbusters won the rebounding battle.
Ray scored 17 points for Garden City, who has won all eight games this season by double digits. James added 17 points and nine boards.
Tate Turner paced the Pirates with 16 points but sat a good portion of the first half after picking up his second foul. Jaelin Grant poured in 15 including a stretch of eight in a row that cut the Broncbuster lead to single digits late in the first half.
Notes: This was the seventh time this season that Garden City has held their opponent under 40 percent from the field
Next up: Garden City vs. Dodge City-Wednesday, Nov. 30-8 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and mobile app: KWKR
Garden City, KS-Playing shorthanded on Saturday night, Garden City finally figured out a way to finish in the clutch, something that had eluded them in their first seven games.
Tionnia McKee netted a game-high 18 points, DeRae Lewis added 14 including the go-ahead bucket with 21 seconds to play, and the Broncbusters snapped a three-game losing streak with a 57-54 win over Independence on Saturday night at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
“I’m not really sure what to say,” Salazar said with a big smile. “We have so many more conference games to play. But we needed this one.”
Garden City was playing without guard Monica Barefield, who was attending her grandfather’s funeral.
“We needed everyone to step up in this one, and they did,” Salazar said.”
But it took a while for the Broncbusters offense to come to life. They missed nine of their first 12 shots and turned it over five times in the first quarter.
Things began to change in the second period thanks to Mckee, whose 3-pointer from the top gave the Broncbusters their first leading since the opening minute 21-20. She followed that up with a runner in the lane before Angel Muir capped a 7-0 run with a layup that gave the Broncbusters a 25-20 edge with five minutes to play in the first half.
Garden City would not score again the rest of the period while the Pirates netted the final five points of the half to tie the game at 25 at the break.
“We still go through those stretches where we struggle to score,” Salazar said. “Sometimes we don’t make things easy for ourselves.”
That scoreless drought reached nearly eight minutes before Jessica Carillo hit two free throws early in the third. But the Broncbusters went more than 10 minutes between field goals. That run ended with Lewis’s layup that cut the Pirates once six-point edge down to two midway through the third.
“I just hope it’s not too late in conference play before this steam shows their potential,” Salazar said. “I keep saying that we have a very talented team.”
And his two best players shined bright when Salazar needed them the most.
Lewis and Mckee combined to score 12 of Garden City’s 14 points in the fourth quarter. Mckee went on her own 8-0 spurt that she capped with a trey that tied the game at 53 with two minutes to go. Then after Cierra Palmer split two free throws to put Independence (4-4, 2-3) on top by one, it was Lewis stampeding down the middle of the lane and knocking down a five-footer over Palmer that gave the Broncbusters the lead for good.
“She’s (Lewis) special,” Salazar said. “There were so many times this team could have quit during the game and they didn’t. That makes me proud.”
The Pirates had two chances in the final 20 seconds to make their move. On the first, Alex Akuen missed a baby hook from the right block. Kavita Akula grabbed the Garden City rebound; was fouled and sank two free throws to make it a three-point contest.
In the waning seconds, Jay-Nee Alston got a good look at a 3-pointer from the top of the key that would have tied it. But the shot sailed wide left at the buzzer, and Garden City ran off the court with their third straight victory over Independence.
“It wasn’t the best offensive game,” Salazar admitted. “But we did enough to win. That’s all that matters.”
The Broncbusters shot 34 percent; their second straight game under 40. Lewis pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds, notching her third double-double of the season. Leon’Dra Hawkins added seven points, and Carillo had six.
Erica Moore scored 13 points for the Pirates, who lost their third game in their last four outings. Alston added nine points and Sara Hadjukovich pulled down a team-best 10 rebounds.
Next up: Garden City vs. Dodge City-Wednesday, Nov. 30-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and mobile app: KWKR