June 23, 2024

Broncbuster men fall late; women hang on to beat Dodge



Listen to the complete game in our archives section

Dodge City, KS-When Harris Brown was a junior at Howe High School in Indianapolis, he finished as runner up for city player of the year. The guy he lost out to was someone named Trey Lyles. The same Trey Lyles who led Kentucky to a Final Four appearance in 2015. It was also the same guy who was selected 12th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz.

On Saturday afternoon, Brown played like he was still chasing Lyle’s ghost.

The sophomore, who transferred from Evansville, scored 16 of his 27 points in the first half, Josh Boutte recorded his sixth straight double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Dodge City completed the season sweep of Garden City with a 73-68 victory at the Student Activity Center.

“The game could have gone either way,” Broncbusters Coach Brady Trenkle said. “We just weren’t very smart in crunch time. I don’t know what my guys were doing down the stretch.”

What Trenkle was eluding to was his team turning it over five times in the final three minutes. None of those proved to be as costly as two giveaways in the final 60 seconds.

After Trevon Evans drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to give Dodge City (16-7, 13-6) a 71-68 lead with 1:08 remaining, Garden City (15-8, 11-8) had the ball back. But Josh Fleming’s pass to Naradian James in the right corner skipped out of bounds, giving the ball back to the Conquistadors.

“It’s hard to say what happened there,” Trenkle said. “It was just bad, fundamental basketball when we needed to execute.”

The Broncbusters had another chance to tie it following Nick Noskowiak’s missed trey attempt from the right wing. As Garden City came back down the floor, the normally sure-handed Ben Howze threw an errant pass from the top of the key that was intercepted by Evans. But that was not the end of the world because there was still time left; still time to kill the clock and force Dodge City to hit free throws.

“I don’t know what they were doing,” Trenkle admitted. “I don’t know if anyone checked the clock.”

What happened next was somewhat perplexing. Garden City let 20 seconds run off the clock before they finally fouled Brown with 3.6 ticks left. The sophomore sank two free throws icing Dodge City’s eighth win of the season in their new building.

“We should have won this game,” Trenkle said. “It was right there for us. We have to figure out how to be consistent. It’s like Dr. Jekyll one night and Mr. Hyde the other. That’s frustrating. But it’s just one game.”

In the grand scheme of things, Trenkle was absolutely correct. But Dodge City not only grabbed their second victory over Garden City this season, they snatched the postseason tiebreaker from them as well.

In Trenkle’s defense, he was playing without Victor Dukes for the second straight game because of an ankle injury. The numbers on the glass reflected that as Dodge City outrebounded Garden City 37-33 and grabbed 13 offensive boards.

“We needed Victor today,” Trenkle admitted. “But even without him, we still had a chance to win it.”

Still, nothing could derail this game from turning into what everyone thought it would be: a battle of two heavyweights who threw one haymaker after the next.

Garden City jumped out to a 7-2 lead early thanks to Fleming’s line-drive 3-pointer from the left wing. Dodge City then responded with nine straight points, the capper: a triple from Brown that gave the Conquistadors an 11-7 edge. Brown, who scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the game, eventually helped his squad build a nine-point cushion halfway through the first half.

“We battled back each time again,” Trenkle said. “I never faulted my guys’ effort; they played extremely hard. We just have to be smarter in certain situations.”

The Broncbusters used a 13-3 run to get back in the game, and Howze’s three-point play put them back on top 26-25 with 7:05 left in the half.

That lead did not last long following Boutte’s dunk that ignited a 10-4 stretch that put the Conquistadors up five with 2:05 remaining in the opening period.

Dodge City would not score again the rest of the frame as Jefkins Agyeman-Budu found James for a slam on the left block before Ray returned the favor the next time down the floor to cut the deficit to one. Ray added a free throw that tied the game at 35 at the half.

Garden City had the momentum early in the second half, building up a five-point edge five minutes in following Fleming’s 3-pointer and James putback. But as they did all afternoon, the Conquistadors fought back, pushing in front 51-50 on the heels of Dayton McGroarty’s reverse layup. It was two of the freshman’s nine second-half points.

“We let a guy that averages three points per game score nine on us,” Trenkle said. “That can’t happen.”

McGroarty though saved his best for last.

James 3-pointer had just given Garden City a 66-65 lead with 2:10 to go. But the hometown kid answered, grabbing an offensive rebound off Brown’s missed trey and sticking it back home plus the foul. He drained the freebie, and the Conquistadors never trailed again.

Fleming eventually tied the contest at 68 on a pullup jumper from the elbow, but the Broncbusters failed to score the final 1:27. In fact, Garden City attempted just one shot attempt over the final 2:00.

James scored 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for Garden City, who dropped their third straight game to Dodge City. Ray splashed home 16 and Fleming added 15.

Evans, who began his collegiate career two years ago at Pratt before transferring to Southwestern and then Dodge City, netted 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

Notes: There were 14 lead changes and 10 ties…Dodge City played without post players Trey Grundy, Dreon Lewis and Brandon Miller…Garden City shot 50 percent from the field in the second half (13-of-26); Dodge was just 14-of-39 (38 percent)

Next up: Garden City vs. Hutchinson-Wednesday, Feb. 8-8 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and mobile app: KWKR



Listen to the complete game in our archives section

Dodge City, KS-Most coaches will tell you that playing with a lead in the second half is their biggest challenge. Playing with a commanding edge; now that’s even more daunting.

Sounds silly, right? Garden City Coach Nick Salazar does not think so.

Salazar watched his team nearly cough up a 24-point lead, then hold on in the final seconds as the Broncbusters snapped a season-long six-game losing streak with a 68-63 win over Dodge City Saturday afternoon at the Student Activity Center.

“First off-I want to give all the credit to Dodge City,” Salazar said. “With their situation, their effort was great. We are fortunate to come out with a win, but we will take it.”

It has been a long couple of weeks for first-year Dodge City Coach Zach Loll. Suspensions and injuries forced his team to suit up only seven players on Saturday. In fact, it was just 10 days ago that the Conquistadors had to forfeit their game at Coffeyville because they did not have enough players to field a team.

“It’s an unusual situation,” Salazar admitted. “But he (Loll) did what he thought was necessary. In the end, we could not worry about who was on the floor.”

Over the last week and a half, Loll was forced to fill his roster with track and volleyball athletes; most of whom had not played basketball in nearly two years.

“Odd is one way to describe it,” Salazar said. “

The Broncbusters took advantage early, scoring the first seven points of the game on 3-pointers by Megan Besecker and Monica Barefield. They stretched that lead to 10-2 before Dodge City rallied to cut the deficit to one on three separate occasions to close the first quarter. More specifically-Alexus Johnson did.

Johnson did her best to keep Dodge City in it, scoring 16 straight points during one stretch. But her team still trailed 26-18.

“We could not guard Johnson,” Salazar said. “She got whatever she wanted.”

Garden City (8-15, 6-13) took full command of the game in the second quarter, closing the half on a 10-0 run and waltzing into halftime with a 38-20 advantage.

Nothing really changed early in the third as the Broncbusters stretched the lead to 24 on Kavita Akula’s baseline jumper. But as they’ve done so many times this season, Garden City went silent, mustering just one field goal over the final 7:00 of the third.

“We continue to struggle on offense,” Salazar said. “Our defense has played well, but our offense still has not come around.”

Dodge City closed the third on a 17-7 spurt and trailed by 14 entering the fourth. But the game flipped well before the fourth quarter ever began.

Johnson, picked up a technical foul for arguing a call late in the third. To that point she had scored 20 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Loll pulled his star player, who sat on the bench for the final 11 minutes of the contest.

“I don’t know what would have happened in that fourth quarter if Johnson was out there,” Salazar said. “But give her teammates credit-they stepped up when they were down.”

Mariah Watkins drained one of her two, fourth-quarter treys that pulled Dodge City (4-19, 4-15) to within 11 with 6:15 to go. After Barefield answered with a bucket for Garden City, Ortiz connected on a 3-pointer to make it 61-51 with 5:10 left. Then the Conquistadors finally cut the lead to single digits when Sada Smith connected on back-to-back shots, pushing Dodge City to within eight.

“We couldn’t do anything in that fourth quarter,” Salazar said. “It was very frustrating.”

Dakota Hoffman, who guided Dighton to their first state championship in school history last season, hit two free throws to make it 66-60 with 1:06 left. After the Broncbusters turned it over, Watkins buried another triple to make it a three-point game with 17 seconds.

“We just had to find a way to hang on.”

Dodge City never got the chance to tie the game. Barefield hit two free throws with four seconds remaining, putting an end to an incredible surge by a team that was left for dead after being outscored 18-6 in the second quarter.

DeRae Lewis notched her seventh double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out. Barefield added 14 and Leon’Dra Hawkins, who started in place of Tionnia McKee, netted 11. Akula chipped in 10.

Johnson finished with 20 points for Dodge City, who lost for the 12th time in their last 13 games. Smith added 16 points on 7-of-12 from the field.

Next up: Garden City vs. Hutchinson-Wednesday, Feb. 5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app