By KEVIN THOMPSON
ULYSSES - Curran to Gomez to Bernbeck.
Just the way they practice the fast break drill.
But this time it was for real. And with a touch of the dramatic, Cody Bernbeck's shot was a layin at the buzzer to give Garden City a 38-36 win over the Tigers in their home den Friday night.
With that shot, Garden City turned a ho-hum game into a thrilling win, its third straight.
Garden City coach Jace Holloway said his plan was for the Buffaloes to put the pressure on a bit at the end, get the turnover, and get the final shot.
"But we wanted to do it a little earlier than that," he said wryly.
The play that everyone will remember happened after Ulysses took a timeout with 30 seconds to play, game tied at 36, after Bernbeck had tied it with 1:47 to play.
Pressure, trap, don't foul. That's all Holloway asked of his team down the stretch.
"And they performed," he said of the Buffaloes.
The Tigers emerged from the timeout with a spread offense, looking for the final shot.
Josh Jarnagin drove towards the basket with eight seconds left, but he found it clogged full of Buffaloes.
He dribbled back out then tried to pass towards the sideline, but there stood Garden City's Jake Curran.
Curran picked off the pass cleanly, then passed ahead to Larry Gomez across halfcourt.
There was a streaking Bernbeck racing down the opposite side, filling the lane.
Gomez hit him with a perfect bounce pass and Bernbeck laid it in off the glass for the win.
What a fitting moment for the guy who literally kept the Buffaloes in the game in the second half. He hit all eight of his attempts, scoring 16 of his 18 points in that stretch.
That's good, considering the rest of his team only managed one basket and three free throws the final two quarters.
Garden City's inability to make buckets in the second half (except for Bernbeck) was a tribute to Ulysses' hustle and solid defense.
Holloway had seen Ulysses' defense in action before, and he knew it was going to be hard to get it inside.
"They wanted us to work for our shots," he said.
Braden Taylor opened the game by scoring all seven of Garden City's points in the first quarter. Then they stopped going to him.
"That was our fault," Holloway said. "We should have kept going to him."
Garden City only made four field goals in the second quarter and held Ulysses to just 1-of-4 field goals, taking a 17-9 lead.
After scoring just two points in the second quarter, though, the Tigers came back early from the halftime break and took control of the game.
Ulysses kept attacking Garden City inside, going on a 14-6 run to tie the game at 23 on a Kyle Zerr three at the 2:12 mark.
Holloway said of the Tigers, "They caught us sleeping."
Back and forth it went the rest of the quarter, ending when Bernbeck hit a pull-up jumper with 37 seconds left to give the Buffaloes a 30-25 lead.
They needed that basket, too, as Garden City went on a nearly four-minute scoring drought until Bernbeck put back an offensive rebound.
That's also when Curran picked up a technical foul and Garrett Kissel sank both to put the Tigers up 33-32.
Chris Oliver hit a field goal at 4:00 and Jarnagin cashed a free throw at 3:41 to give Ulysses its final points of the night.
Taylor sank a pair of free throws and Garden City pulled within two with 2:52 to play.
Garden City's pressure forced Ulysses to spread its offense. After back-to-back misses by the Tigers, Bernbeck hit a catch-and-release at 1:47 to tie the game.
That was it for either team until the last-second heroics.
For Tigers coach Jason Jones (now 7-6), it's not really about giving up the last basket at the buzzer, but what happened earlier.
"People will remember the end, but I'm going to remember the first half when we were awful for two quarters," he said.
Turnovers cost his team, too, he said (they had 16), many of them coming when they had chances to score.
"We're trying to do the right things. We just need to shore up our ball handling a bit," Jones said.
Give credit to Bernbeck, Jones added. His team tried to shut him down with a triangle-and-two defense, but the Buffalo senior was too good.
"He made tough shots, even the ones where we there," Jones said.
Now 5-9, Holloway sees his team's record as 3-0 heading into the February stretch.
They are off until Friday when they host Winfield before hosting Derby on Saturday night.
"I'm pretty happy right now," he said.
Garden City 7 10 13 8 -- 38
Ulysses 7 2 18 9 -- 36
Garden City — Bernbeck 9-11 0-0 18, Gomez 0-2 0-0 0, Terpstra 0-0 0-0 0, Curran 2-9 1-2 6, Taylor 4-5 3-3 11, Ensz 1-2 1-2 3. Total 16-30 5-6 38.
Ulysses — Newell 0-5 0-0 0, Langston 1-3 2-2 5, Kissell 3-4 2-2 8, Simpson 1-1 0-0 2, Zerr 2-6 0-0 5, Jarnagin 3-3 1-2 7, Moore 0-1 0-0 0, Oliver 3-3 3-4 9. Total 23-26 77-10 36.
3-point goals — Garden City 1-5 (Curran 1-5), Ulysses 2-7 (Langston 1-2, Zerr 1-3). Rebounds — Garden City 15 (Curran 7), Ulysses 20 (Jarnagin 7). Turnovers — Garden City 16, Ulysses 16.