Garden City, KS-When Garden City played Junction City back in December, Head Coach Jacy Holloway called the Blue Jays the most athletic team they had seen. Well, if that was the case, Maize South, is the most complete team the Buffaloes have played.
Kael Kordonowy, scored 15 points and pulled down a career-best 22 rebounds, Kyle Belvin and Trey Reid each added 12, and the Mavericks pulled away from Garden City for a 63-44 victory in the semifinals of the January Jam at Hornets Field House on Friday night.
“Depth hurt us a bit in this game,” Holloway said. “The foul trouble didn’t help.”
Kyler Lamb, the Buffaloes leading rebounder, picked up two fouls in the first 90 seconds of the game. He sat for the rest of the first half.
With the middle exposed, Maize South (7-3, 2-3) went to work. With the game tied at 13 going into the second, the Mavericks scored seven straight points capped off with Kordonowy’s offensive rebound off a missed free throw that setup Tai Johnson’s easy layup, putting Maize South up 20-13 with 4:02 remaining in the second. In all, Garden City was outscored 16-4 in the second quarter and misfired on 12 of their 13 shots in the period. They were down 29-17 at the break.
“I told these guys that I loved their effort,” Holloway said. “We just couldn’t hit shots and got ourselves into foul trouble.”
They also surrendered 12 offensive rebounds in the first half with Kordonowy nearly outrebounding the Buffaloes by himself (15-13).
Maize South quickly stretched their lead to 13 in the first minute of the third. That’s when Garden City made one last ditch effort to get back in the game.
“We got some things going in that third quarter,” Holloway said.
Azavier Williams finished a sensational three-point play, Lamb hit a 3 and two free throws, and the Buffaloes were within three, 34-31 with 2:18 left in the quarter. It was all part of a 12-2 run. But Garden City never broke the seal after that, as Maize South scored the final five points of the third and the first three of the fourth to build the lead to 11. The Buffaloes never got it under 10 the rest of the way and trailed by as many as 19 in the fourth.
Johnson scored 10 points for the Mavericks, who won their sixth consecutive game. Ethan Hartig finished with six points a tied a season-high with seven rebounds.
Carlos Acosta tallied 13 points but was just 5-of-15 shooting for Garden City, who missed out on their first trip to the January Jam Finals since 2003. Williams added nine, and Lamb had eight points and five boards. The Buffaloes were outrebounded 54-27.
Next up: Garden City vs. Valley Center/Wichita Heights loser (game was suspended in the second half Friday night because of weather and will resume Saturday morning)-2:45 p.m. pregame; 3 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM: westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app