Streaking Busters look for another road win
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
Despite winning three straight games to finish the regular season, the Garden City Community College Broncbusters, who finished 22-8 overall and 8-6 in the KJCCC West, will travel to Neosho County (20-10, 4-8) Saturday in the first round of the Region VI Tournament.
The Busters were tied with three other teams for third with the 8-6 record, but fell on tiebreakers to the fifth seed in the West, while Neosho County came out on top of its own four-team tie for fourth in the East, giving the Panthers the chance to host the first-round game.
For Busters head coach Brady Trenkle's squad, it will be the third road game in the last four, and the Busters have won the previous two — at Pratt and at Barton on Wednesday.
"It's not going to be easy," Trenkle said of trying to get a third-straight win on the road. "But nothing is this time of year."
The Busters have used suffocating defense in the past three games en route to the wins, holding Pratt, Dodge City and Barton to a 68 points-per-game average.
But the Panthers are at an entirely different level on offense. Head coach Jeremy Coombs led the highest-scoring offense in the Jayhawk, scoring 96.8 ppg, while holding opponents to just 79.9.
The Panthers scored more than 100 points 12 times this season, including a 137-point outburst in a non-conference game on Nov. 15.
"Run and gun, run and gun and press, give you layups to get layups," is how Trenkle described the Panthers' up-tempo offense. "It's kind of an AAU summer ball game. It's hard to teach, but (Coombs is) doing a good job with it."
Trenkle also noted that the Panthers may have three of the best shooters from 3-point range the Busters have faced this season, as well, as sophomore Jamie Batish, freshman Brett Frantz and freshan BJ Jenkins have all attempted more than 100 3-pointers and are hitting 40 percent or better.
Yet, only two of those — Frantz (10.2 ppg) and Jenkins (13.3) — are part of the five Panthers averaging double digits. Joseph Acuil is scoring 12.3 ppg, while Charles Cooper is at 13.8 and Kyler Steadman is at 10.6.
"They key is slowing them down," Trenkle said. "They've got weapons left and right."
The Busters play at a much slower pace, scoring 76.8 ppg, but holding opponents to just 63. The Busters also only have two players averaging double figures in sophomores Jady Cathey (11.9) and Jeremy Wilson (11.3).
"We've got to be patient on offense," Wilson said on Thursday. "We can't let them speed us up. The biggest key is transition with this team, so we've got to try to stop them like we have been all year."
While the Busters have won three straight, the Panthers have lost three in a row — at Allen, vs. Butler and at Coffeyville.
Yet, Trenkle said their 4-8 conference record is deceiving.
"I'm having a hard time understanding why they're 4-8," Trenkle said. "I've been extremely impressed with them (on film). I don't understand why they have eight conference losses."
The Busters had a film session and a light shootaround on Thursday as Trenkle tried to get his players to recover after a hard-fought win on Wednesday in Great Bend.
The team will leave for Chanute on Friday morning and will have a practice that evening before the 2 p.m. game on Saturday.
"We'll be ready to go," Trenkle said.
Neosho County: So. Jamie Batish (9.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg), So. Henry Buckley (5.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Fr. Brett Frantz (10.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg), Fr. BJ Jenkins (13.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg), So. Kyler Steadman (10.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg).
Garden City: Fr. John Bell (2.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg), Fr. Jalen Variste (7.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg), So. Jeremy Wilson (11.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg), So. D'Shon Taylor (7.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg), Fr. Miles Banks (3.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg).
Team Stats GCCC Neo
PPG 76.8 96.8
PPG Allowed 63.0 79.9
3Pt % 34% 39%
FT % 63% 71%
RPG 44.6 42.5
APG 13.7 16.9
Turnovers 13.4 13.4