June 12, 2024

Buffaloes Overwhelmed in Home Loss to Hooker (Ok.)

Garden City High School boys basketball team hosted Hays High School on Friday, January 12, 2024 at The Garden in Garden City, Kan. The Buffaloes lost to the Indians 64 - 66. Photo credits; Adam Shrimplin, Shrimplin Photography

GARDEN CITY, Kan. – The Buffaloes’ first go-around with the Bulldogs was a round-one knockout. Their size and physicality proved too much, cruising to a 20-point victory.

Round two saw Garden City throw haymakers early, showing Hooker they were there to play. Unfortunately, this upstart fighter gassed out early, leading to more of a win by decision.

The Garden City Buffaloes fell short against​ Hooker (Ok.), with the Bulldogs outlasting the Buffs, 71-59. The Buffaloes will be unable to finish with a winning record in 2024, but the signs are there for this squad to be formidable in years to come.

Garden City’s first quarter was one of flair and flash, tying their season-most points in a quarter. GCHS exploded for 23 points in the first eight minutes, draining five triples.

The Buffaloes jumped ahead by 11 after one. Emilio Zundt poured in 13 first-quarter points, with Maliek Kiney adding five.

“I thought we did a good job moving the basketball,” head coach Luke Swedberg praised. “Hats off to our guys, we came ready to play.”

Zundt would finish with 20 in the game, but wasn’t able to consistently stay on the floor. Both senior starters, Zundt and Brody Burns, got into early foul trouble, sitting for long stretches for the second quarter.

Hooker, sensing weakness, struck hard. The Bulldogs splashed three triples to bring the game within one possession. Keilan Robinson hit the go-ahead layup with two seconds to go in the first half.
The game started tied for the first 20 seconds, Garden City led for the next 15:38 of the first half. They would fail to lead again for the conclusion of the game.

“Our guys knew what to do at the start of the game, we remember what that game was like,” Swedberg said. “Hooker’s still a really good basketball team. Now that they’ve had months and months of practice, they’re an even better basketball team.”

Both teams traded blows back and forth in the third. Raul Munoz was excellent, scoring nine of his 13 out of halftime.

Munoz has now scored in double-figures in four of the last five home games for GCHS.

The Buffaloes didn’t have enough to keep up with Hooker’s (18-2) balanced scoring effort. Junior forward Slade Stalder poured in six fourth quarter points, leading the Bulldogs with 19 on the night.

The Buffs’ scoring dried up in the end, scoring just nine points in the final frame.

“It was the case of us being a half-second late on our reads,” Swedberg said.

Five different Hooker players finished in double-figures, compared to just two for Garden City.

The Buffaloes close their home season on Tuesday against the Dodge City Red Demons. Coverage begins immediately following girl’s basketball’s 6:00 P.M. tipoff on 99.9 ‘The Rock’.

Audio Recap

Luke Swedberg interview