By BRETT MARSHALL
Nothing comes easy at times for the Garden City Buffaloes boys basketball team.
Not even a win in its first outing at their new home — the New Garden.
It took four minutes of overtime, but the Buffs did get that victory — a 73-69 heartstopper over the Wichita Trinity Academy Knights on Thursday night, on the opening night of the Clarion Inn Southwest Classic.
Even with a 12-point lead and less than three minutes to play in regulation, the Buffs couldn't seal the deal.
Time after time, turnover after turnover, foul after foul, the Buffs saw what seemed to be a comfortable advantage dissipate. That's what can happen when a team cashes in 10-of-11 free throws and forces five turnovers down the stretch.
"We didn't do the things that you need to do to protect a lead," GCHS coach Jacy Holloway said. "I'm glad to get out of here with a victory. It's a relief, and was a must-win. But we've got a lot of things to fix if we're going to have a chance tomorrow (today)."
What Holloway alluded to was 22 turnovers and only 12-of-19 free-throw shooting by his own team.
But still, in the final analysis, the Buffs did enough. And sometimes, that's all that matters.
The Buffs led 14-11 after one quarter, but trailed 30-27 at intermission.
"We made a few adjustments on things at halftime and they seemed to bring us some energy in the third quarter," Holloway said. "We finally started playing with a lot of emotion when we had been stagnant."
A stingy defense in the third allowed the Buffs to outscore the Knights 15-10 during that stretch to go up 42-40 heading to the fourth period.
A 14-5 run in the early portions of the final quarter put the Buffs up 56-45 at the 3:10 mark. It was 59-47 with 2:35 to play when Tristan Nanninga canned a 3-pointer. Things looked good at that point.
But the Knights wouldn't go away. A tenacious fullcourt press forced the Buffs into numerous miscues, and that's when fouls plagued Garden. The Knights responded with a free throw clinic down the stretch. But it was Ryan Miller's 3-pointer with 22 seconds left in regulation that finally knotted the score at 59.
Garden tried several times in that final stretch to score, but couldn't get it done. Time ran out as they threw the ball away once again.
In overtime, Emilio Parr and Hunter Delgado made 3-of-4 free throws to put the Buffs up 62-59, and they never trailed. The teams kept trading points back and forth, but that early edge never wavered. However, it wasn't until Evan Riggs' second of two charity shots with 8 seconds left that the Buffs had a 4-point margin and the game safely tucked away. Trinity couldn't get a final shot off before the buzzer.
"We finally got some things going and that seemed to be just enough," Holloway said. "Trinity's a good, fundamental team. They play hard, and we knew that."
Four players scored in double figures to provide a balanced attack for the Buffs. Terpstra led the way with 16 points while Nanninga and Bo Banner contributed 11 each. Parr added in 10. Terpstra and Parr grabbed 8 rebounds each to help the Buffs own the battle of the boards, 38-22. Ryan Miller had a game-high 24 points for the Knights, but was only 6-of-17 from the field, and was limited to a pair of 3-pointers.
The Buffs hit 50 percent of their field goals (28-of-56), while Trinity was 18-of-42 for 42.8 percent.
Holloway's team is now 2-1 and they will host Denver South at 8 p.m. today at the New Garden. Trinity (1-1) travels west 5 miles to face Holcomb at 8 o'clock today.
Wichita Trinity 11 19 10 19 10 -- 69
Garden City 14 13 15 17 14 -- 73
Wichita Trinity (69) — Carro 1-2 2-2 4, Mosley 1-2 1-2 3, P. Miller 3-4 6-6 13, Burns 1-3 4-4 6, Loon 1-3 1-2 3, Jones 3-6 3-4 11, Newman 2-5 1-1 5, R. Miller 6-17 5-8 24. Totals 18-42 23-29 69.
Garden City (73) — Delgado 3-8 3-3 9, Riggs 0-2 3-5 3, Nanninga 5-11 0-0 11, Banner 5-8 0-0 11, Keller 1-2 2-2 5, Terpstra 7-17 2-3 16, Parr 4-4 2-6 10, Love 2-3 0-0 6, Tramp 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 28-56 12-19 73.
3-point field goals--Trinity 5-12 (P. Miller 1-1, Jones 2-4, R. Miller 2-7); Garden City 5-12 (Delgado 0-1, Riggs 0-1, Nanninga 1-2, Banner 1-2, Keller 1-2, Terpstra 0-1, Love 2-3). Fouls--Trinity 18, Garden City 25. Fouled out--Trinity (P. Miller, Burns), Garden City (Delgado). Rebounds--Trinity 22 (Loon 5), Garden City 38 (Terpstra, Parr 8 each). Turnovers--Trinity 14, Garden City 22.