GCCC men hope for some March Madness vs. Ravens
By ADAM HOLT
The non-conference season for the Garden City Community College men's basketball team featured mixed results. Conference season was largely a disappointment. Now with the postseason opening, the Broncbusters have a chance to end the season on better terms.
"We talked about it, and we talked again about, there's the pre-conference season, the conference season, and this is the third one," GCCC head coach Rand Chappell said. "Everybody in the country's 0-0."
Garden City opens the Region VI playoffs on the road against Coffeyville, the top seed in the Jayhawk East, a 7 p.m. Saturday game that either ends or extends the Busters' season.
Garden City finished eighth in the western division at 3-13, taking a tiebreaker over 3-13 Colby by virtue of better performances against the division's top teams. Single-digit losses to Hutchinson, as well as a win over then-No. 9 Barton helped GCCC's case.
"We're going over there with nothing to lose and a lot to gain," Chappell said.
Still, it's a tall task against the No. 2-ranked, 29-1 Red Ravens, who have won 22 straight. The Ravens feature Montel James, whose 17.5 points per game have him seventh in the region in scoring.
But if Penn State can get its first Big Ten win in 15 tries against fourth-ranked Michigan, why couldn't the 11-19 Busters pull off a stunner on Saturday?
When Garden City plays well, it plays very well. The opposite holds true as well. The key is usually defense.
In the Busters' 66-46 upset of the Cougars, they held Barton to its lowest point total all season. Garden City's narrow losses to Hutchinson, 65-58 and 62-57, marked two of the Blue Dragons' four lowest point totals this season.
"I think that we got great defensive efforts in those games," Chappell said. "It will probably take something similar at Coffeyville."
Chappell thinks the Busters match up better in the frontcourt with the Ravens, who have forwards he characterized more as "quick athletic" than "powerful strong."
A little consistency on the other side of the ball could go a long ways, too. Four Busters average at least 11 points, but outside of forward Jade Cathey, the conference season was hit-or-miss for the other three in Frank Agholor, Reuben King and Chris Hall.
It doesn't hurt that Garden City got at least a glimpse of Coffeyville, playing a preseason scrimmage in Kansas City. While both teams were running a lot of players in and out of the games, and things have certainly changed during the course of the season, Chappell said the scrimmage was evenly matched.
"That gives them a little confidence, that they've been on the court with this team before, and they hung with them," he said.