Lady Buffs stunned
By BRETT MARSHALL
It had been 25 years since the Garden City Lady Buffaloes had made an appearance in the Hays City Shootout championship game, and they had their sights set on breaking that drought here on Friday afternoon in the semifinals against Great Bend.
But the Lady Panthers, one of the Buffs' Western Athletic Conference rivals, denied coach David Upton's squad that opportunity with a surprising 52-46 triumph at Hays High gymnasium.
The loss drops the Lady Buffs into today's third-place game at 1:30 p.m. against Newton, which got belted by top-seeded Riley County, 60-30.
Turnovers and poor shooting, along with foul trouble to their top two scorers — Taryn Tempel and Jaymie Bernbeck — contributed to the demise of the Lady Buffs.
"We struggled the first half, didn't shoot the ball well, turnovers and then foul trouble, too," said a disappointed Upton in a telephone interview Friday night. "We just didn't have much energy, for some reason which is always hard to understand or explain. I told them we have a lot to play for, and maybe this will get us focused to come back and play well tomorrow."
Garden City was guilty of 29 turnovers, shot just slightly better than 25 percent and saw Tempel spend a good portion of the first half on the bench with two fouls. Bernbeck also had two fouls in the first half, and then picked up her third violation with just under six and a half minutes left in the third period.
Bernbeck got the Lady Buffs off to a good start in the first quarter, scoring six points to help them to a 12-9 lead by the end of the opening eight minutes.
But the Lady Panthers used a 14-7 second-period advantage to take a 23-19 lead into halftime.
Tempel, limited to just two points in the first half, managed 10 in the final 16 minutes, but the Lady Buffs could only trim one point off the deficit by the end of the third at 33-30. At one point, the Lady Buffs trailed by as many as eight points, 30-22.
Still, despite all the problems, the Lady Buffs rallied and had leads of 36-34, 38-36 and 42-39 in the early portion of the fourth.
"I really felt like when we were able to get the lead, we were in a position where we'd take care of business," Upton said. "But we made some miscues down the stretch, and we didn't do a good job of communicating on defense. We gave up a couple of easy baskets."
But Great Bend would take a 43-42 lead with just over three minutes to play and closed out the victory by hitting 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch. The Lady Buffs could only muster two baskets in the final four minutes, a Taylor Linenberger drive off a feed from Jacksenie Tornero and Bernbeck's layup.
"I expect us to come back tomorrow and get after it defensively, and to play better," Upton said.
Bernbeck and Tempel each got 12 points, while Great Bend, with a decided free throw advantage, finished with a game-high 16 points. The Lady Panthers were 20-of-29 at the stripe while the Lady Buffs were just 11-of-17. Great Bend also nailed four three-pointers to just one for Garden City.
In consolation games on Friday, Colby edged TMP Marian, 45-42, and DeSoto sprinted past Hays High, 56-29. DeSoto and Colby play in the 1:30 p.m. fourth-place game while Hays and TMP were to play for seventh place at 10 a.m. today.
Garden City 12 7 11 16 -- 46
Great Bend 9 14 10 19 -- 52
Garden City (1-1) — Padilla 0 0-0 0, Butler 0 0-0 0, Linenberger 2 1-3 5, Hinde 0 0-1 0, Tornero 2 2-3 7, Brunson 0 0-0 0, Tempel 4 4-6 12, McKee 0 1-2 1, Dreiling 0 0 1-2 1, Bernbeck 6 0-0 12, Carrillo 3 2-2 8. Totals 17 11-17 46.
Great Bend (2-0) — Welch 0 0-0 0, Hildebrand 2 0-0 4, Kelsie Doll 1 3-4 5, Spray 1 2-4 4, Unruh 5 4-5 16, Kaylie Doll 1 2-2 4, M. Mauler 1 3-4 6, Stueder 1 4-6 6, H. Mauler 1 0-0 3, Harwood 1 2-4 4. Totals 14 20-29 52.
3-point goals--Garden City 1 (Tornero), Great Bend 4 (Unruh 2, M. Mauler 1, H. Mauler 1). Fouls--Garden City 21, Great Bend 18. Fouled out--Garden City (Tempel, Bernbeck).