By BRETT MARSHALL
Jacy Holloway couldn't remember if the Garden City Buffaloes had won a season-opening game in the eight years he's been associated with the program — five as an assistant and three as the head coach.
But that all changed Friday night at Pratt, as the Buffs used a smothering defense and a balanced scoring attack to blow past the Pratt Greenbacks, 46-27, to open the 2012-13 campaign with a win.
"It was a really good defensive game and probably wasn't what I was expecting based on the way we had been practicing," Holloway said in a telephone interview. "I just didn't know we'd play that way, but I can't think of anything better to get the season started."
Early on, it was veteran senior Austin Terpstra who got the Buffs off to a quick start with two field goals. Senior Evan Riggs added another bucket, Hunter Delgado the first of three 3-pointers and Caleb Tramp a short jumper to provide the Buffs with an 11-6 lead after the first quarter. Pratt's Skyler Dean canned a pair of treys himself to keep the Greenbacks within range.
"We didn't exactly fire things up offensively," Holloway said. "We missed a bunch of easy shots and if they go in, we'd have had a much more complete game."
Still, it was the defense that had Holloway happy. The Greenbacks could manage only 3-of-22 field goals in the first half for an icy 13.6 percent, as they went in down, 20-10, at intermission.
The Buffs had their best quarter coming back out after the break, outscoring the Greenbacks 21-5 to break the game open, 41-15. And the best part was that Pratt never made a serious run at the Buffs the entire second half.
All 12 players who suited up played, and eight of those scored. Terpstra, who had injured his shooting hand earlier in the week, started and played well. He finished with 16 points and was the only Buffs' player to reach double figures. Delgado, with his three treys, was next with nine.
"A lot of the younger kids really came out and played well, played hard and got into the flow of the game," Holloway said. "We did struggle offensively early, but the defense was really good." Holloway said he had the team switch defenses to keep the Greenbacks off balance and the moves worked.
"The kids were flying around and I thought they rotated really good and put pressure on the ball," Holloway said. "We were able to push things and I thought we did a good job of keeping them guessing, keeping them off balance."
Dean was the lone double-digit scorer for Pratt with 10 points.
There's little rest for the 1-0 Buffs as they arrived home late Friday and were scheduled to board the bus late this morning for a 250-mile trip to Pueblo to face Pueblo East at 8:30 p.m. today. But the trip will be more enjoyable after winning their first season opener in many years.
Garden City 11 9 21 5 -- 46
Pratt 6 4 5 12 -- 27
Garden City (46) — Delgado 3 0-0 9, Riggs 1 0-0 2, Nanninga 3 1-4 7, Keller 0 0-0 0, Terpstra 7 2-2 16, Parr 0 0-0 0, Love 1 0-0 3, Smith 0 0-0 0, Koster 1 0-0 2, Rodriguez 1 0-0 2, Tramp 2 1-2 5, Gurrola 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 4-8 46.
Pratt (27) — Dean 3 2-2 10, C. Kurz 1 1-1 3, Mayberry 0 0-0 0, Dobbs 0 0-0 0, Sullivan 1 0-0 3, Shumway 1 0-0 2, Wiltshire 2 2-4 6, Ramos 0 0-2 0, Kahmeyer 0 0-0 0, Fowler 1 1-2 3. Totals 9 6-11 27.
3-point field goals — Garden City 4 (Delgado 3, Love 1), Pratt 2 (Dean 1, Sullivan 1).