May 30, 2024

Hays boys go bonkers from 3; Buffalo girls lose third straight

Photos by Adam Shrimplin


Garden City, KS-January 12, 2017 will be a day that high school basketball fans won’t soon forget.

Hays guard Tragdon McCrae made sure of that.

The junior set the Garden on fire, nailing 9-of-13 3-pointers, Hays drilled 17 as a team, and the Indians rolled to an 82-53 victory on Friday night.

“Our guys didn’t believe how fast they got shots up,” Buffaloes’ Coach Jacy Holloway said. “That’s how Hays plays, and we didn’t do much to stop it.”

How efficient were the Indians? Their first-quarter stat line read like a complete-game box score: 9-of-14 from the field and 7-of-12 from deep. Interestingly enough, the seven made triples in a quarter was not a season high. Hays hit 10-of-15 in the first in a 94-55 win over Pratt on Dec. 5.

“I wasn’t even upset with my guys,” Holloway said. “It wasn’t for a lack of effort. I mean, Hays was in a zone tonight.”

And McCrae was the catalyst.

The sharpshooter drained four treys in the opening period as Hays (7-2, 3-0) built their lead to eight midway through the quarter. They led by five going into the second.

That’s when things got real.

McCrae began the second with a 3-pointer from the 28-foot hash mark. Then, with less than four minutes to go until halftime, it was McCrae nailing a 30-footer from straight away that pushed the Indians’ advantage to 38-31. That long ball ignited a 12-0 run to close the half, and Hays had a 47-31 lead at the intermission.

“I thought we played with them in the first quarter,” Holloway said. “The second quarter was a different story, and we let it get away from us.”

Hays’ 3-point attack looked like a pregame shoot around. And what they started in the first half, they finished with a resounding thump over the final 16 minutes.

McCrae and Braiden Myers nailed back-to-back trays, spearheading a 10-0 surge that put the Indians up 57-34, five minutes into the second half. That lead swelled to as many as 34 following Myers layup late in the fourth. But before it was all said and done, McCrae had one more trick up his sleeve, splashing home another 30-footer from along the sideline to begin the fourth, completing one of the best shooting exhibitions in recent memory.

“We aren’t going to jump off the cliff from one game,” Holloway explained. “I mean Hays beat us by 29, but they shot lights out. Our guys understand what happened. Now we learn from it and move on.”

McCrae tallied a season-high 31 points for the Indians, who won for the sixth straight year in Garden City. Ethan Nunnery was the only other Hays’ player in double figures; he finished with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting while posting his second double-double of the season with 11 rebounds.

Jayden Crook and Demarcus Elliott each scored 10 for the Buffaloes, who fell to 1-14 vs. Hays since 2011. The Buffaloes shot 25 percent on 20-of-57 from the floor and were 4-of-20 from deep.

Next up: Garden City vs. Topeka Seaman (January Jam)-Thursday, Jan. 18-1:45 pm pregame; 2:07 pm tip on 99. 9; and KWKR mobile app



Garden City, KS-Four years ago, the Hays’ girls were easily the worst team in Kansas. Head Coach Kirk Manksa’s squad slogged their way to the first winless season in school history, getting blown out night in and night out.

Nearly a half decade later, the Indians are for real, and now they’re the ones doing the stomping.

Savannah Schneider scored 12 points, Mattie Hutchison added 11, and Hays rolled right through Garden City with a 54-30 victory Friday night at the Garden.

“It’s amazing how we knew the game plan, and then when you watch us, it looks like we haven’t even practiced,” Buffaloes’ Coach Matt Pfeifer said afterwards. “It’s frustrating because we proved we could play with them in the first half.”

Everything started well, at least the first possession that is when Josie Calzonetti scored off the opening tip to give the Buffaloes a 2-0 lead. Garden City did not score again for the next 10:20.

Meantime the Indians got hot, reeling off 15 straight points to take a 15-2 advantage 30 seconds into the second period.

“We fought back once we started playing right,” Pfeifer said.

It also helped to have Beth Guymon on the floor. The senior was instrumental in leading Garden City’s second-quarter surge, hitting two triples, as the Buffaloes used a 13-4 run to cut the Indians’ lead to 19-15.  They were down eight at the half.

“Knowing who we were playing, I felt pretty good about being down eight at the half,” Pfeifer said. “I knew we were in a decent position.”

The problem was Guymon had picked up her third foul late in the second quarter. So Pfeifer made the decision to keep her on the bench to start the second half. Unfortunately the move proved costly.

The Indians opened the third on an 11-0 run, and by the time Guymon reentered the game, Hays had a 33-17 lead with 5:47 to go in the period.

“Beth picking up her third foul definitely didn’t help,” Pfeifer said. “We found some rhythm with her, and the lineup we had in there in the second quarter. But that’s no excuse to not run what we are supposed to be running.”

But Garden City (3-6, 0-3) had more problems than just foul trouble. They turned it over 28 times, including 12 in the third quarter alone. They attempted only four shots in the period and were outscored 23-2 as the Indians surged in front by 29, 48-19 going into the fourth.

“The third quarter obviously decided the game,” Pfeifer said. “Their press wasn’t anything that we haven’t seen. It’s just when we had our post girls bringing the ball up, we had more success. The other times, not so much.”

Calzonetti, who sprained her ankle in the closing minutes vs. Liberal on Tuesday, finished with 12 points and four rebounds for Garden City, but she was obviously hampered by her foot, turning the ball over uncharacteristically.

“Josie was not 100 percent,” Pfeifer said. “You could tell because she was hesitant on her dribble drive.”

Guymon netted eight points for the Buffaloes, who lost their third straight game.

Tasiah Nunnery, the Western Athletic Conference volleyball player of the year, scored 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting for the Indians.

Next up: Garden City vs. Ulysses-Tuesday, Jan. 16-7:45 p.m. pregame; 8 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; and KWKR mobile app