By KEVIN THOMPSON
ULYSSES The Garden City Lady Buffaloes celebrated breaking into the Class 6A coaches' rankings by picking up their 10th win in a row, a 61-38 win over 4A Ulysses on Tuesday evening.
Now ranked No. 7, the Buffaloes used a combination of speed, height and defense to take care of the Lady Tigers early.
Garden City, aided by 10 first-quarter Tiger turnovers, jumped out to a 14-7 lead. The Buffaloes held an 8-0 lead with 5 minutes to play, but then they went cold, missing their next seven shots before a Taryn Tempel layup.
The Buffaloes shot just 35 percent in the opening period (7-of-20), with all their shots coming from under 7 feet.
They increased that by going 6-of-9 from the floor in the second period to shoot 45 percent for the half, while Ulysses struggled to just 28 percent (5-of-18).
Tempel hit Garden City's only two jump shots of the half a pair of 3-pointers early in the second quarter as the Buffaloes opened up a 19-point lead at 31-13 before Amanda Langley scored late for the Tigers.
Garden City shot 67 percent in the second half (14-of-21) to finish at 54 percent for the game.
Tempel led the way with 18 points, while Jaymie Bernbeck had 13 and Johna McClelland added 12.
Garden City's largest lead came at 46-20 in the third quarter, by which time the Buffs had called off the press and focused on half-court defense. An early run in the fourth got that same margin before Ulysses cut into it late.
The Buffaloes have been averaging 56.8 points per game and giving up just 39.8 in the 10-game streak, so Tuesday was right on the mark.
"This game went according to plan," coach David Upton said. "We figured we could kind of win this going away, and we did. We executed and did the things we needed to do."
Part of that execution was using their size advantage early, he said, attacking the basket as much as possible, and running transition fairly effectively.
About the only weak areas for the Buffaloes, Upton said, was too many turnovers (16) and too many rebounds (31) to the smaller Tigers.
Many of those boards came on the Tigers' offensive end, and that means his girls weren't being aggressive enough to stop them.
"I would like to say it's a matter of focus and playing hard and going and playing aggressive, but this is two games in a row we gave up way more offensive rebounds than I want to give up," Upton said. "I think it's something fundamental. We're not bodying up on people and we're not getting tough out there."
It should send a warning to his girls, he added, that other teams aren't just going to hand games to Garden City, and next weekend at tournament time might be a wake-up call.
His team, which had been averaging in the high 20s early in the season on turnovers, had cut that back to 12 or 13 lately, so the 16 was a bit over the average of late, something Upton wants to remedy as soon as possible.
"We'll work on ball security, and we'll talk to the girls about some of the things that we did wrong. I just think we were a little bit out of sync tonight," Upton said.
Tempel rolled her ankle a bit at the end of the third quarter, but Upton said she appeared to be eager to get back into the game but he felt no need to risk anything with the lead well in hand.
"I think she could have gone back in, but we said to just rest it and get it better," he said.
Ulysses coach Tim Hofferber saw an effort against a pretty solid Garden City team, an effort that had been missing of late from his girls.
"We knew coming in what Garden City was bringing, but I thought our focus and our intensity level was so much better (than the past few games)," he said. "We were way more fundamental, even though we turned it over."
It was an easy locker room after the game to talk to, he said.
"It was nice to see that they were stepping up to meet some expectations. That was great for this group," he said.
His challenge for this game, following a Monday loss to Colby, was to value the ball more, an adage he has on his office board.
"I think it helped us focus more and play more present. By that, I mean we were to anticipate a few things, so I'm really pleased with them," Hofferber said.
That transferred into other facets of their game, as well, he added.
"Less panic, less stress," he said. "Our poise was so much better. Our confidence was better."
Morgan Price scored 12 points to lead Ulysses, with nine in the final period, where she also had four offensive boards.
"She's so athletic. The things she did in the fourth quarter are what we've tried to evolve her into and her confidence was starting to build," Hofferber said.
For the Lady Tigers (1-10), this game was the second of five this week, as they now prepare for a tournament in Coffeyville starting Thursday.
In an ironic twist, they will face former coach Eric Flaton's Coffeyville team.
Garden City will play in the Newton tournament next week, most likely the second seed with seeding to be determined today.
Garden City 14 17 17 13 -- 61
Ulysses 7 8 10 13 -- 38
Garden City (10-1) McClelland 5 2-3 12, Linenberger 2 0-0 4, Carillo 2 0-0 4, Tornero 1 0-0 2, Brunson 2 0-0 4, Tempel 8 0-3 18, McKee 2 0-0 4, Bernbeck 5 3-6 13. Totals 27-50 5-12 61.
Ulysses (1-10) --Gallegos 2 0-0 6, Langley 2 2-5 6, Price 5 2-4 12, Bohl 1 0-0 3, Arnold 1 0-0 2, Branscum 3 2-2 9. Totals 14-44 6-11 38.
3-pt. goals Garden City 2-4 (Tempel 2), Ulysses 4-12 (Gallegos 2, Bohl 1, Branscum 1). Rebounds Garden City 31 (McClelland 6, Bernbeck 6, McKee 5), Ulysses 27 (Price 9, Calderwood 5). Blocks Garden City 3 (McClelland 2, Bernbeck 1), Ulysses 1 (Arnold 1). Turnovers Garden City 16, Ulysses 25. Fouled out none. Total fouls Garden City 11, Ulysses 11.