Valley Center, KS (WesternKansasNews.com) – When the Buffaloes arrived at Valley Center on Friday night something was different. The usual casual looks and pregame looseness was gone, and the team and their coach Jeff Williamson came into the gym on a mission. The goal of that mission? Win 12 straight games to open up a season for the first time in the history of the program.
Jeff Williamson even said in his pregame conversation, “we know what’s at stake but we are looking ahead to the matchup and it wouldn’t hurt to add something special to that along the way.”
The early returns were not good, as soon as the ball tipped in the first quarter the Buffaloes’ offense would sputter slightly as (7-4) Wichita Northwest’s physicality was on full display. In fact, after one quarter the Buffaloes trailed 15-8.
That would be the last time they would be outscored in a quarter. The Buffaloes responded after being challenged by their coach in the quarter-break timeout. “I told them we need to rebound, just like last night there were too many 2nd chance opportunities and they responded, I’m so proud of them and their effort it’s not just me out there it’s all those guys and my assistant coaches they do the heavy lifting,” Williamson added in the postgame.
After a 17-10 run in the 2nd quarter, the game was all tied up 25-25 heading into the break. That would be the last time though as Garden City opened the quarter on a 9-0 run that saw them take a lead they would never relinquish.
The Buffaloes had 3 scorers in double figures led by Jace Steinmetz who scored more than 20 points for the second time in two nights. Steinmetz’s final line was 23 points on 9-16 shooting and 8 rebounds. Behind him, Caleb Wiese was fierce down low scoring 17 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Iziah Salinas rounded out the top scorers adding 10 points for the second time in three games.
“I’m so proud of this team and the job is certainly not done yet but I’m so happy for how hard they have worked and they earned every bit of this piece of history,” Williamson closed with.
The final would be a comfortable 58-41 to earn a spot in the January Jam Finals at Valley Center High School for the first time in school history. Garden City will face the reigning 6A state champions Wichita Heights at 4:30 pm on Saturday.
You can listen to the game on 99.9 The Rock with pregame coverage beginning at 4:15 pm.