May 25, 2024

Buffalo boys win sixth straight; girls go cold

Photo by Adam Shrimplin

Garden City, KS-They hadn’t played a game there since 2012. But after Friday, Jacy Holloway may be rescheduling home games for the old Garden next season.

Kyler Lamb scored 20 points, the Buffaloes hit a season-high eight 3’s, and Garden City beat Hays for the second time this season, 55-49 at Horace Good Middle School.

“We made sure to get some shots up in here the last few days,” Holloway said afterwards.

That prep work definitely paid off. Garden City hit 8 of their first 9 shots and were 6-of-7 from downtown in the opening quarter. Lamb scored 12 on 4-of-4 from 3 in the first eight minutes, and the Buffaloes led by as many as 12 in the opening frame before Tradgon McRae hit a 35-foot triple at the buzzer to cut the Garden City lead to 22-13.

“We are executing really well right now,” Holloway said. “When we run our stuff, we can be pretty good.”

Like the first meeting, the Indians made a push early in the second quarter. McCrae and Dayln Swartz hit four straight free throws before Swartz converted a second-chance basket to bring Hays to within three, 22-19 with 5:30 to go in the first half.

But the Buffaloes had their own counterpunch. Carlos Acosta and Jarrod Springston hit back-to-back jumpers, Azavier Williams buried two 3’s, and Garden City was back up by 12, 34-22 with 1:21 remaining.

“We are shooting really well right now,” Holloway said. “But that’s a direct result of taking good shots and moving the ball.”

The Indians did manage to score the final five points of the first half, but Garden City was still up 34-27 at the break.

If there was still any doubt, Lamb erased it in the third quarter.

The senior knocked down a midrange jumper; then followed with back-to-back pullups to end the period, putting the Buffaloes up 46-33 going to the fourth. Then, to open the final period, Lamb caught Williams’ lob pass at the rim, and, all in one motion, put the ball in softly off the glass for a 48-33 advantage with 6:34 to play.

“We did a good job again of running our sets,” Holloway said.

Hays did have one last run in them. Cade Swayne hit a layup following an offensive rebound, T.J. Nunnery finished off a three-point play, and Swayne added back-to-back bunnies in the paint, capping off a 9-0 run that cut Buffaloes’ lead to six, 48-42 with half a quarter to go.

“For the most part, defensively, I thought we played well,” Holloway said. “They made a run, but we did a good job of putting an end to it.”

With the game teetering, Williams made a dazzling move down the left baseline in which he finished over 6-8 Dylan Ruder. Springston followed with a jumper, and Acosta made two free throws to stretch the lead back to 10.

Acosta finished with 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting for the Buffaloes, who won their sixth straight game. Springston scored 11 and pulled down five boards, and Williams scored nine.

McCrae tallied 14 for Hays, who lost to the Buffaloes in Garden City for the first time since 2011. Swayne chipped in 12.

Girls

Garden City, KS-The Buffaloes have had their shooting issues all season long. But after Friday’s game, Matt Pfeifer could only shake his head.

Garden City shot 25 percent (14-of-55) and missed on 22 of their 23 3-point attempts. Meantime, Brooke Denning burned the brown and white again, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-12 from the field, as Hays completed the season sweep with a 46-35 victory at Horace Good Middle School.

“It was just one of those nights shooting,” Pfeifer said. “We couldn’t hit anything after that first quarter.”

Interestingly enough, the Buffaloes came out hot, hitting 6 of their first 11 from the field, building a 14-11 advantage after one. But over the final 24 minutes, Garden City connected on just 8-of-44 (18 percent) shots. They scored just two points over the final seven minutes of the second period, going 2-of-14 from the field and watching the Indians close the half on a 7-0 run to take a 22-18 lead into the locker room.

“When your shots aren’t falling, you can still do other things to affect the game,” Pfeifer said. “I don’t think we did a good job of that tonight.”

Still, the Buffaloes were within striking distance, and Elyssa Salazar, who finished 4-of-16 from the floor and 0-of-11 from 3, drained a jumper from the elbow to tie the game at 22 with 5:04 left in the third. But Garden City managed just two points the rest of the frame, and Denning buried a triple in the final 30 seconds of the quarter to cap off a 9-2 spurt that put Hays up 31-24 going into the fourth.

“It’s disappointing because you’re trying to get a rhythm going into the playoffs,” Pfeifer said. “I definitely didn’t see this one coming.”

The Indians took their first double-digit lead of the night when Jaycee Dale hit a layup to make it 37-27 with 5:51 to go. They pushed that to 13 on Tasiah Nunnery’s free throws with 1:04 remaining, putting the game out of reach.

Savannah Schneider scored seven points and pulled down nine rebounds for Hays, who beat Garden City for the eighth time in their last nine meetings.

Julie Calzonetti tallied 12 points and eight rebounds for Garden City, who saw their three-game winning streak snapped. Keyhana Turner had eight points and three boards.

Next up: Garden City at Liberal-Tuesday, Feb. 19-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app