January 24, 2022

Buffalo boys win second straight; down Great Bend in OT

Photos by Adam Shrimplin

Highlights

Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Over the last two years, no team has been a bigger thorn in Garden City’s side than Great Bend.

Back in December at the Hays Shootout, Garden City blew a double-digit lead and lost in double overtime to the Panthers. Couple that with Great Bend’s season sweep of the brown and white last year, you could understand Buffaloes’ Coach Jacy Holloway being a little concerned.

“That team has had our number,” he said.

Friday night, Holloway’s bunch finally put away the pesky Panthers.

Griff Brunson scored just five points, but his layup with five seconds left in overtime lifted Garden City to a dramatic 37-35 victory over Great Bend at the Garden.

“Great Bend always plays us tough,” Holloway admitted. “We finally got them.”

But as they did a month earlier, the Panthers never went away.

Evan Allen-Mader’s bucket with 6:27 to play in the fourth quarter gave the Buffaloes a 33-28 advantage. Amazingly, Garden City did not score again in regulation.

Kody Crosby answered with a rainbow 3-pointer from the left corner to make it a two-point contest before Brayden Smith powered in a layup against Demarcus Elliott to knot the score at 33 with less than four minutes to go.

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Then the stalemate.

“Both teams had so many looks,” Holloway said. “It was frustrating that we didn’t take advantage.”

One those chances came in the final seconds of regulation when Garrett Doll missed a game-winning jumper from the foul line. It finished off a stretch that saw both steams go scoreless the final 3:55. The Buffaloes were 1-of-8 shooting in the final period.

“I’m glad that we won,” Holloway admitted. “But we didn’t play very well on either end.”

The Buffaloes though did just enough, and Zac Karlin’s elbow jumper with two minutes left in overtime, gave Garden City a 35-33 lead.

And as they did earlier in the fourth quarter, Great Bend (1-6, 0-2) squandered a chance at a fourth straight win over the Buffaloes.

With the game tied at 35 in the waning seconds of overtime, Crosby missed the go-ahead free throw. Demarcus Elliott grabbed the rebound for Garden City.

“I didn’t call a timeout and just went with it,” Holloway said. “It’s an area that I’m trying to get better at.”

The decision paid off when Brunson split two defenders on the right wing and glided in for a right-handed layup.

“We have to put the ball in someone’s hands who was going to make a play,” Holloway said. “Griff did that tonight.”

The Panthers had another chance to tie it, but Konner Ireland’s runner from the right block clanged off the back rim at the horn, giving the Buffaloes their second straight win.

“Records don’t matter when we play Great Bend,” Holloway said. “They matchup with us so well.”

First-year Panthers Coach Tim Brooks was visually upset at his team on several occasions, including a sequence where Great Bend had three chances to take the lead in the final nine minutes of regulation.

On the first attempt tied at 28 late in the third, Logan Perry was rejected at the rim by Tye Davis. Then with three minutes left in the final frame, Smith, who recorded his first double-double of the season, turned the ball over. Finally, Crosby missed an open layup with the game knotted at 33.

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Doll netted six points on 2-of-8 shooting for Garden City. Davis added four points and five rebounds, and Mader chipped in four, including a sensational step-back jumper that shoot all-state quarterback Jacoby Murray out of his shoes in the first half.

Smith led all scorers with 12 points and 10 boards for the Panthers, who have now lost 16 out of their last 18 true road games. Crosby added 10 points and 11 rebounds but missed eight of his 10 shots. Ireland splashed home three triples and finished with nine.

Next up: Garden City at Liberal-Tuesday, January 10-7:30 p.m. on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and mobile app: KWKR