Busters 'On Point' in win
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
When Dionti Craig slammed down a thunderous dunk to put the finishing touches on a 77-54 win over On Point Academy (El Reno, Okla.) on Sunday, the 6-foot-5 freshman also shook off the rust from a two-week layoff for the Garden City Community College men's college basketball team heading into conference play Saturday.
Taking on the late-scheduled prep team from Oklahoma City in front of a small crowd at the Perryman Athletic Complex, that was entirely the goal for head coach Brady Trenkle, "to play the best we could.
"I knew we would come in rusting, coming in with two weeks off ... I thought they played fine for that. We didn't shoot the ball well, and we did have a few defensive lapses. I know our team is better than that, but I also know we were playing a good team, too."
On Point Academy was coming off back-to-back games at the Seward County Classic, where they took Butler to the brink in a 79-74 loss, and then fell to Seward 100-71 the next day.
So when the Broncbusters started slowly on Sunday after the long break, Trenkle was not too worried, despite going into the half only up seven, 35-28. Instead, Trenkle relied on his consistent defense to widen the gap.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the two teams exchanged points until it was 42-36, and then the Busters exploded.
Freshman guard Jalen Variste pick-pocketed On Point's Drew Smith, the ball hit the floor at mid-court, followed closely by the Busters' June Johnson, who threw a pass over his head from the floor straight to the streaking Jeremy Wilson, who slammed it home, sending the Busters on an 18-3 run in the next seven minutes to pull away.
Wilson finished as the game's leading scorer with 19, including several more fast-break dunks in a high-flying effort, going 8-for-12 shooting and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed three boards.
D'Shon Taylor added 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting and hitting 4-of-6 free throws. The leading rebounder was Miles Banks with a game-high 10.
"That was a little confidence boost right there," Talan Whitaker said after the game. "I just feel like we've got to just have a good week of practice, just come in pretty strong and have the right mindset going into conference."
The Busters start the tough Jayhawk West schedule with two big games, first at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at home against Seward County, and then at Hutchinson on Jan. 15.
when the Busters take on the 17th-ranked and 13-2 Blue Dragons.
On Point never pulled closer than 15 for the rest of the game, as the Buster defense continued to tighten, holding On Point to just 35 percent shooting from the field, including 9-of-30 in the second half, while the Busters used their lockdown defense to jump-start the offense, shooting at a 60 percent (15 of 25) clip in the second half.