By KLINT SPILLER
Special to The Telegram
HAYS — The Hays High School boys' basketball team had a disappointing 48-40 loss earlier in the week at its rival, Great Bend.
Nothing seemed to go right for the Indians in that loss, and head coach Rick Keltner was disappointed in his team's intensity and effort.
They spent the past couple of days correcting those issues, and it must have worked because Keltner was much happier following Friday's 74-54 victory against Garden City at the HHS gym.
"We are still a young team," he said. "For some of them, it was their first Great Bend road game. I think we got better from it. If you lose a game and get better from it, then you build on that, and that's a positive."
The Indians improved to 8-1 and 2-1 in the Western Athletic Conference while Garden City dropped to 7-3 and 2-2 in the league.
Garden City head coach Jacy Holloway said he hopes his squad will have a similar turnaround following Friday's loss, especially after the Buffaloes allowed Hays High's 6-foot-6 sophomore center Brady Werth to go off for 28 points.
"We have some issues with listening and being in the right position," Holloway said. "We are probably going to go back and do exactly what Coach Keltner has done the last two days."
Werth finished with 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting, and he also posted 10 rebounds and four blocks.
"He is just going to keep getting better," Keltner said. "He is a good finisher, but a lot of the credit goes to the fact that he had teammates getting him the ball."
Garden City got a breakout performance from junior guard Hunter Delgado. He finished with a season-high 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range.
"He is just now finding his flow," Holloway said. "He is doing a good job defensively, and it's really carrying over to the offense. He came ready to play. I would have left him in the whole game if I could."
Senior guard Bo Banner scored 13 points, and junior Tristan Nanninga and senior Austin Terpstra added nine and eight points, respectively.
Garden City hung with Hays High in the first quarter, but the Buffs fell into a lull in the second quarter. The Indians found easy basket after easy basket, making nine of 12 and outscoring Garden City 21-9 in the quarter.
Hays High took a 36-23 lead into halftime and never came close to relinquishing it.
"Coach Keltner talked about how poor their effort was Tuesday night," Holloway said. "That was something they were really looking at fixing. They did a good job of that. They came out with a lot more energy. We were only able to give that energy for short spurts."
Though the game wasn't close, it did get rowdy at times. Four technical fouls were handed out — two to each team.
Holloway earned one for arguing a call, and Terpstra got one for shoving a Hays High player.
Then Hays High senior Adam Deterding received one later for pushing Terpstra, and Indian reserve forward Kenny Rounkles got one late in the game.
Holloway was upset afterward and said he had issues with the officiating since that crew had previously been banned from calling their games. However, the ban was revoked before the start of the current sseason.
"When a crew gets banned from doing your games and they are still allowed to do it, it really affects the coaching, the way you coach and the way we play," Holloway said. "Our kids know it."
The Buffs will have a few days to regroup as they now prepare for Thursday's opening-round game at the Valley Center January Jam. They are slated to take on Junction City at 5 p.m.
Garden City 14 9 15 16 -- 54
Hays High 15 21 18 20 -- 74
Garden City (7-3, 2-2) — Delgado 6 1-2 18, Riggs 0 2-2 2, Hernandez 0 0-0 0, Nanninga 4 0-0 9, Banner 5 2-2 13, Keller 0 0-0 0, Terpstra 2 4-4 8, Parr 1 2-3 4, Love 0 0-0 0, Koster 0 0-0 0, Tramp 0 0-0 0, Gurrola 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 11-13 54.
Hays High (8-1, 2-1) — Niernberger 1 0-2 2, Petz 5 3-6 16, Windholz 5 1-4 11, Deterding 2 0-1 4, Clark 1 4-6 6, Cardinal 1 0-0 2, Parker 2 0-0 4, Bixenman 0 1-2 1, Werth 11 6-7 28. Totals 28 15-28 74.
3-point goals--Garden City 7 (Delgado 5, Nanninga 1, Banner 1), Hays 3 (Petz 3). Fouls--Garden City 20, Hays 16. Fouled out--Garden City (Parr). Technical fouls--Garden City (Coach Holloway).