By BRETT MARSHALL
After a few days of inconsistent practices following their runner-up finish at the Hays City Shootout on Saturday, Garden City Buffaloes' boys basketball coach Jacy Holloway was unsure how his team would perform in their home opener at The Garden on opening night of the 3rd Clarion Inn Southwest Classic.
And when he looked at the scoreboard following his team's solid 58-38 victory over Wichita Trinity, he still had things he knows his team needs to improve, but there was plenty of things he liked.
Despite giving up three 3-pointers in the first quarter, the Buffs were on top 15-11 at the end of the opening eight minutes.
Over the next eight minutes, they played perhaps their best quarter of the young season, outscoring the Knights 18-6 to head into the locker room with a commanding 33-17 lead and didn't give up a single trey in the process.
"I thought we did come out more mentally prepared than in any of the games last week," Holloway said. "Trinity does some things that really forces you to be on your game, especially what they force you to do defensively on the help side. It's the best defensive effort we've given so far."
The Buffs got two 3-pointers of their own in that critical second period, one each from Jared Koster and Miguel Olivas while 6-foot-5 junior Caleb Tramp provided the inside punch with six of his game-high 18 points.
Holloway said he felt the Buffs executed their offensive sets much better than they did at Hays.
"Early, I thought we did a really good job because you could tell by the kinds of shots we were able to get," Holloway said. "We were focused and ready to go. When we ran what we wanted, we got the shots we wanted, most of the time. We got shots out of what we were doing, but not always the best shot. We got a lot of good looks when we ran things well."
Just as efficient as the Buffs were in the second quarter, the third period saw them go on a hiatus from what had been effective earlier.
"I've said all along that we tend to play down to our opponents, and with no disrespect to Trinity, we just didn't keep playing in the third quarter," Holloway said. "We just need to learn to keep playing because I thought we lost some focus."
The Knights never did trim the deficit to single digits, but they were within 11 late in the third at 38-27, and then early in the fourth at 42-31. But a 10-2 run midway through the fourth sealed the deal for the Buffs as they improved their early season record to 3-1.
Tramp's 18 points came off 9-of-15 shooting, but he missed a breakaway slam dunk and a couple of close-in shots around the basket. And he grabbed just one rebound.
The Buffs did win the board battle against the shorter Knights, 34-26, with Luis Rodriguez grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. Alex Carro plucked off five to lead Trinity. Carro was also the lone double-figure scorer for the Knights (1-1) with 11 points. Trinity was a woeful 3 of 16 from behind the arc, while the Buffs connected on three of their four trey attempts. Garden shot 52 percent from the field (26 of 50), while Trinity hit a chilly 30.7 percent on 16-of-52 attempts.
Turnovers were a wash as each team commited nine miscues.
The Buffs will play host at approximately 7:45 p.m. today against Denver South in the middle game of the three-game Classic. Trinity heads to Scott City for a 7:45 p.m. game against the Beavers. On Saturday, with boys games to tipoff at approximately 5:45 p.m., Garden will host Pueblo (Colo.) East and Trinity will travel to Holcomb to face the Longhorns.
Box score on Scoreboard, Page B2.
Wichita Trinity 11 6 10 11 -- 38
Garden City 15 18 7 18 -- 58
Wichita Trinity (38) — Carro 5-12 0-0 11, Mosley 1-3 0-0 2, Johnson 0-1 0-00, Miller 4-14 0-0 9, Shanks 1-3 2-4 4, Burns 2-5 0-0 4, Loon 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 2-11 1-1 6, List 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 16-52 3-5 38.
Garden City (58) — Tramp 9-15 0-0 18, Delgado 2-7 0-0 4, Olivas 3-5 0-0 8, Koster 3-3 0-0 7, Hernandez 2-3 0-0 4, Nanninga 2-5 1-1 5, Rodriguez 3-6 1-1 7, Parr 1-5 0-0 2, Love 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 26-50 3-5 58.
3-point goals--Trinity 3-16 (Carro 1-2, Mosley 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Miller 1-6, Shanks 0-1, Loon 0-1, Jones 1-4), Garden City 3-4 (Olivas 2-3, Koster 1-1). Rebounds--Trinity 26 (Carro 5), Garden City 34 (Rodriguez 10). Turnovers--Trinity 9, Garden City 9. Fouls--Trinity 8, Garden City 11. Fouled out--none.