May 26, 2024

Weimer’s Game-Winner Stuns Buffaloes in Heartbreaking Loss to Hays

Garden City High senior Brody Burns (#3) handles the basketball in the Buffaloes' contest with Hays High on January 12th, 2024. Photo credits; Adam Shrimplin, Shrimplin Photography

Garden City, KS. – Nobody notices 1.3 seconds pass in real time. It just happened reading this sentence. And again. 

On Friday night, 1.3 seconds momentarily felt like an eternity. 1.3 seconds before that, hundreds of Buffaloes fans were passionately screaming.

1.3 seconds after that undid 31 minutes and 58 seconds of one of their team’s best efforts.

Hays senior Jack Weimer spoiled Garden City’s Homecoming Party. His floater from the right baseline twisted the nylon as the horn expired, handing the Garden City Buffaloes a 66-64 defeat at The Garden. The loss was the Buffaloes’ first home loss of the season.

“In a game like this, when you don’t get that last bounce, it hurts,” Luke Swedberg, Buffaloes head coach, said. “You could feel it when I walked in that locker room. I think it just goes to show how much of a battle this is going to be, night-in, night-out.”

Friday’s contest was anybody’s game throughout. Neither team led by more than eight, The game was within one possession at the end of every quarter. 

Garden City (4-5, 1-1 WAC) started slow, but accelerated their offense as the first quarter went on. Key transition buckets from Brody Burns and Emilio Zundt helped the Buffaloes come from 6-1 down to tie the ballgame at 12 after one.

Brothers Kyzer and Izaac Fox came up big for the Indians in the second quarter. Kyzer would score five of his team’s 20 in the frame, while Izaac’s go-ahead layup just before the half gave Hays (4-4, 2-0 WAC) a one-point advantage.

The third quarter saw both teams play their finest basketball, in a frame where neither team wanted to miss. Kyzer Fox poured in seven points in the frame, sophomore Trey Oakley would sink two three pointers.

Swedberg praised his team’s ‘next-play mentality’ during their epic 57-56 win over Great Bend the week prior. Every Hays bucket would be counteracted by one from Garden City.

The Buffaloes exploded for six three-pointers in the third, scoring a season-best 23 points in a quarter.

“I feel like that third quarter was probably the best quarter, especially offensively, that we’ve played all season long,” Swedberg said. “When you let things go, and you’re not trying to force it, you can have that when you have a free-flowing offense.”

Burns, Zundt, Raul Munoz, and Maleik Kinney all hit treys in the frame, with Burns sinking three.

Burns finished with a career-high 18 points, nailing four three-pointers.

“I thought [Brody] did a great job staying poised and letting the game come to him,” Swedberg said. “I’m so happy for him because he had a tough assignment. [Weimer] is a heck of a player, and he had the job of guarding him. That takes a lot of energy, and for him to come back and shoot the basketball, and make the decisions that he did, score a bit in transition, he had a nice pass to Thomas, I’m so happy he played so well.”

The fourth quarter is where the big men went to work. Hays’ Dawson Ruder – who only scored two points in the entire first 16 minutes – would score five in the final eight minutes. Garden City’s Thomas Longa –  who didn’t score at all in the first three quarters – would score his team’s final nine points.

“We had a few paint touches, finally got a breakdown, and Thomas got a wide-open layup,” Swedber recalled. “That was really fun to see. I think we’re going to learn a lot from this film.”

A fleury of Garden City turnovers brought Hays right back in it, leading to the final eight seconds of the game. The Buffaloes would foul twice, taking Hays to 4.3 seconds to try and win it. Weimer ran left off the inbound, received a clean screen, and heaved one from the baseline. 1.3 seconds in the air, it swished the twine right as the horn sounded.

“I hope we let this be a gift to us,” the first-year coach said. “I really feel for our guys. I want this to be a good thing for us, because this can help us a lot.”

The traveling Hays fans erupted, the Buffaloes’ home crowd stunned. A moment neither team will forget for a long part of this season.

Garden City will have next week off of games before beginning a three-game road trip to begin January. The Buffaloes travel to Goodland on January 23rd to face the Goodland High Cowboys. The non-conference matchup will be broadcasted on 99.9 ‘The Rock’, beginning following the conclusion of girl’s basketball.

Audio Recap

Luke Swedberg Postgame Interview