Lady Busters stop Cloud; GCCC men fall in OT

1/27/2014

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

The Garden City Lady Broncbusters have not trailed in 120 minutes of basketball.

After leading the entire way in their previous two wins — at home to Colby and Pratt — the Lady Busters again led wire-to-wire in a 71-60 win over Cloud County on Saturday night, this time on the road at the Arley Bryant Gymnasium in Concordia, to increase the Busters' record to 11-9 over and 3-2 in KJCCC West play.

"What's crazy is, I thought early in the year it seemed like every conversation we would have would be, 'why can't we start fast,'" head coach Nick Salazar said in a telephone interview. "But now it's completely switched."

Salazar opined that opposing teams are not prepared for the speed and athleticism of his starting lineup, and it takes a few minutes of play before teams acclimate to the pace.

The Lady Thunderbirds (12-8, 3-2) never acclimated enough to make a run at the Busters' lead. Star point guard Shauqunna Collins again forced the issue early, according to Salazar, forcing the T-birds against the ropes early.

However, Collins, who finished with just nine points on 3-of-6 shooting, also was in foul trouble for most of the night, which put the honess on her teammates to execute. Loysha Morris, Sandra Davis and company took the reins and kept attacking, which was a good sign according to Salazar.

Davis scored a game-high 20 points on an efficient 10-of-12 shooting, while Morris had 11 points on 3 of 6 from the field.

"We've had three games now where Loyha was arguably the best player on the floor," Salazar said of the point/shooting guard who mixes and matches with Collins in the back court.

Also chipping in off the bench were Jasmine Christmas with 11 points and six boards, and Tori Spann with five and four.

It was the rebounding efforts from several sources that Salazar said made the biggest difference.

"This game, flat out, I think really what it was, we challenged our team very early on in the week, because I felt like toughness was a tremendous factor in the way Cloud plays," the first-year coach said. "There's not a whole lot about them that's phenomenal in any way, but if you look at their scores, it's impressive — it's toughness."

The Busters were up for the challenge, out-rebounding the T-birds 43-36 and holding them to 27 percent shooting (17 of 64), including 5 of 30 from 3-point range.

Jordan Alexander led the T-birds with 14 points, but on 2-of-9 shooting.

"We made a really concerted effort to be tougher, and on rebounding the ball," Salazar said. "We really did punish them on the boards."

Zantaya Davis-Jackson led with eight boards, but five Busters had at least six.

Salazar wants to continue that momentum into Wednesday's 6 p.m. road game at Dodge City.

"This team could be very, very good," he said. "I feel like we're starting to see that now."

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Garden City (11-9, 3-2)--Morris 3-6 5-8 11, Chisom 1-7 0-2 2, Collins 3-6 3-4 9, Davis 10-12 0-0 20, Davis-Jackson 1-7 3-7 5, Horton 1-1 0-0 3, Spann 1-2 3-6 5, Inchun 1-6 0-0 3, Christmas 5-7 1-3 11, T Williams 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 26-54 17-32 71.

Cloud County (12-8, 3-2)--Steppe 0-3 0-0 0, Fisher 4-10 2-2 10, Duncan 4-12 1-2 11, Smith 2-9 6-8 10, Alexander 2-9 8-8 14, Lorson 0-1 0-0 0, Aramina 0-4 0-0 0, McCall 3-3 1-1 7, Pagrode 1-2 2-2 4, Nittler 1-10 1-2 4, Lindshield 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-64 21-25 60.

Halftime--Garden City 31-26. 3-point goals--GCCC 2-11 (Horton 1-1, Morris 0-1, Chisom 0-2, Collins 0-1, Davis 0-1, Inchun 1-5), CCCC 5-30 (Steppe 0-3, Aramina 0-4, Duncan 2-8, Smith 0-2, Pagrode 0-1, Nittler 1-8, Alexander 2-4). Rebounds--GCCC 43 (Davis-Jackson 8), CCCC 36 (Smith 9). Assists--GCCC 7 (Morris 3), CCCC 10 (Duncan 3). Technical fouls--none. Fouled out--GCCC (Collins), CCCC (Duncan). Total fouls--Garden City 21, Cloud County 26.

Cloud County men 76, Garden City 68, OT

Shaun Steward scored a season-high 37 points for the Cloud County Thunderbirds in a 76-69 overtime win over the Garden City Broncbusters on Saturday night in KJCCC West play.

Stewart was efficient in the prolific night, going 12 of 17 from the field, including 5 of 6 from beyond the arc. He was also 8 of 9 on free throws.

"We didn't guard well," a pragmatic head coach Brady Trenkle said in a telephone interview.

But Trenkle also said he was taking something positive away from the loss.

"It was the kid's (Stewart) best game of the year, and it took overtime to beat us, and we didn't play our best game," the first-year coach said.

The Busters (16-5, 2-3) were uncharacteristically beat on the boards as the T-birds (10-11, 2-3) grabbed 17 more (41-24). The Busters also shot 25 3-pointers, their most attempts this season, and hit only nine of them.

"That's not what our team is," Trenkle said.

Reuben King had a team-high 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while Jeremy Wilson chipped in 14 and Jalen Variste had 11.

"Our energy level wasn't there for 40 minutes. I mean, we played, we gave ourselves a chance. I'll give my team credit for that.

The T-birds never led by more than eight, and there were 14 lead changes and six ties during the overtime contest, including at the end of regulation at 63. However, the T-birds out-scored the Busters 13-6 in the overtime period for the win.

The Busters will try to get back on track at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Dodge City as they take on the rival Conquistadors.

"We've got to get (the loss) out of our head and move on," Trenkle said.

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Garden City (16-5, 2-3)--King 6-12 0-0 16, Variste 3-13 5-5 11, Wilson 6-16 0-2 14, Cathey 3-4 0-1 7, Whitaker 2-6 0-0 4, Bell 3-5 1-2 7, Johnson 2-3 2-2 8, Taylor 0-1 0-0 0, Pierre 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 26-63 8-12 69.

Cloud County (10-11, 2-3)--Stewart 12-17 8-9 37, Dillard 6-13 8-11 21, Diop 2-6 3-6 7, Smith 1-3 2-2 4, Gomis 1-5 0-0 2, Henry 0-0 0-2 0, Okoronkwo 2-3 1-1 5, Brinker 0-1 0-0 0, Brooks 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 24-50 22-31 76.

Halftime--Cloud County 37-32. 3-points goals--GCCC 9-25 (Bell 0-1, King 4-9, Variste 0-2, Wilson 2-8, Johnson 2-3, Cathey 1-1, Pierre 0-1), CCCC 6-13 (Stewart 5-6, Dillard 1-3, Diop 0-2, Smith 0-1, Brinker 0-1). Rebounds--GCCC 24 (Wilson 6), CCCC 41 (Stewart 11). Assists--GCCC 7 (Variste 3), CCCC 5 (Stewart, Dillard 2). Technical fouls--none. Fouled out--GCCC (Bell), CCCC (none). Total fouls--Garden City 22, Cloud County 15.

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