Buffaloes finish fourth at Valley Center

Valley Center, KS-In the first two games of the January Jam, Garden City couldn’t buy a basket. Unfortunately, by the time they found their stroke on Saturday afternoon, it was too late.

Trenton Driskill scored 15 points and hit his first 3-pointer of the season, his team tied a season-high with seven triples, and Valley Center beat the Buffaloes 60-55 in the third place game of the January Jam at Hornets Field House.

“We finally hit some shots,” Head Coach Jacy Holloway said with a smile. “We just couldn’t get over the hump.”

Early in the game, the Buffaloes matched Valley Center (5-6) basket for basket, tying things at 9 on Carlos Acosta’s first trey of the tournament. But the same problems that haunted Garden City vs. Maize South crept up again: closing quarters poorly.

Valley Center scored nine of the final 11 points in the period, including Driskill’s hook in the final seconds, giving the Hornets an 18-11 advantage going into the second.

“We learned a lot about our team during this tournament,” Holloway said. “We just have to minimize our mistakes.”

Garden City (8-3, 2-0) sliced the deficit to three halfway through the second on Jarrod Springston’s three-point play. But the Buffaloes didn’t score over the final 4:22, Valley Center tallied the last six points, and the Hornets had a 27-18 edge at the half.

“We had plenty of chances, we just couldn’t make the shots when we needed them,” Holloway said.

Case in point, the Buffaloes pulled back to within one early in the final quarter when Acosta sliced in for a spectacular and-1 layup. But turnovers and forced shots never allowed them to take the lead. Myles Thompson followed with a cold-blooded 3 from the top of the key before adding his own three-point play that put the Hornets up 53-47 with 3:34 remaining. Eventually, Valley Center finished the Buffaloes off at the line, hitting 7-of-8 over the final 1:09.

“We have to get better,” Holloway said. “I thought there were some good things. I thought our defense played well at times. But we have to find a away to get going earlier in the game.”

Larry Wilson, who turned heads on the football field last season for Valley Center, scored eight points on 3-of-4 shooting. Jeren Carter added eight, including a crushing 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter, and Thompson had eight and three rebounds.

Springston scored 16 points for Garden City, his fifth double-figure scoring game in the last six contests. Acosta chipped in 14 on 6-of-14 shooting, Kyler Lamb had 13, and Azavier Williams netted 11.

Next up: Garden City at Ulysses-Tuesday, Jan. 22-7:45 p.m. pregame; 8 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app