Busters finish strong in win over Beavers.
By. J. LEVI BURNFIN
By. J. LEVI BURNFIN
Sophomore forward Jeremy Wilson elevated over every Pratt defender to throw down a dunk three minutes into the second half of Wednesday night's Jayhawk Conference West game, capping off a 16-2 run to begin the final 20 minutes.
The entire Perryman Athletic Complex shook after the monstrous one-handed dunk from the NJCAA logo just inside the free-throw line, celebrating the remarkable individual play and the apparent blowout win in progress as the Busters led 55-28.
Instead, the visiting Beavers went on an 18-0 run over the next six and a half minutes to pull within nine. Buster head coach Brady Trenkle refused to call a timeout, relying on his team to adjust and stop the Beavers' run.
They did, and pushed the lead back to nearly 20 points en route to an 83-71 win, improving the Busters' overall record to 16-4 and their conference record to 2-2 after starting 0-2 in the West.
"We just needed to get our minds right, and I think we got it right," Trenkle said after the game. "But now, I don't want them to be satisfied with this, because when you're up 25 and you let them cut it to eight, hey, that's the game of basketball.
"You think you're going to win when there's 14 minutes to go in the game, you're wrong, especially to a team like Pratt that's so well coached."
As the Garden City crowd cheered Wilson's dunk, teammate Talan Whitaker seemingly celebrated too much and was called for a technical foul immediately following. The Beavers (13-7, 3-1) hit both free throws to start the long run to claw back into the game.
"I guess we just got complacent," Wilson, who finished with a team-high 15 points, said. "The bench came in, didn't do too well tonight, but we got back to it."
During the run, the Busters seemed to be all of a sudden out of offensive rhythm and were missing assignments on defense. The Beavers scored on seven of eight possessions during the run, including two 3-pointers.
Trenkle did not think about using a timeout, though, to try to settle his team down.
"I want my guys to be able to learn from it, and they did. Our guys learned from it," the first-year coach said.
Whitaker finally stopped the bleeding with a pair of free throws just before the 10-minute mark. Then, out of the under-10 media timeout, Jalen Variste scored on a driving layup and the Busters were able to push the lead back to 20 again.
"It's the game of basketball," Trenkle said. "Some teams roll over and quit, and you want those teams to roll over and quit. Pratt will never quit."
The Beavers were led by Robert Davis' 21 points, going 5-for-12 shooting, including 4 of 9 from beyond the arc. The Busters did not seem to have an answer for 6-foot-10 Kevin Allen early, either, as he scored 10 points in the first half. However, the Beavers' big man was held to just one point in the final 20 minutes.
But the Beavers still weathered the early second half storm, and Wilson's dunk, to fight back.
"Jeremy makes this dunk, very impressive, and they T'd up Talan," Trenkle said. "It was an emotional technical because that was one of those (dunks) where it could have brought the house down."
The Busters still managed to pull away on the backs of five double-digit scorers — Wilson, Whitaker (12), Jalen Variste (12), June Johnson (12) and Jade Cathey (11) — for the win and did not trail for the entire contest for the second time in as many games after routing Colby 84-48 on Saturday.
"To hold our home court, I mean, that's what's important," Trenkle said.
However, the Busters will now leave the friendly confines of Perryman and head to Concordia to face Cloud County for a 7:30 p.m. matchup on Saturday.
Pratt (13-7, 3-1)--Flynn 3-8 1-2 9, Allen 1-7 9-14 11, Laatham-Seales 3-6 3-3 9, Schieber 2-8 1-1 6, Tshikaya 3-4 1-2 8, Dobbins 2-3 0-0 5, Holden 1-1 0-0 2, Davis 5-12 7-8 21. Totals 20-49 22-30 71.
Garden City (16-4, 2-2)--Wilson 7-11 0-0 15, Whitaker 4-5 4-5 12, King 4-9 0-1 9, Variste 4-7 4-4 12, Johnson 4-7 2-2 12, Bell 0-1 3-4 3, Taylor 0-6 0-0 0, Craig 2-3 0-0 4, Cathey 4-7 2-3 11, Pierre 2-4 1-3 5. Totals 31-60 16-22 83.
Halftime--Garden City 39-26. 3-point goals--Pratt 9-18 (Flynn 2-3, Schieber 1-4, Tshikaya 1-1, Dobbins 1-1, Davis 4-9), GCCC 5-15 (Wilson 1-3, King 1-6, Johnson 2-5, Cathey 1-1). Rebounds--Pratt 26 (Allen 8), GCCC 34 (Cathey 8). Assists--Pratt 9 (Flynn 5), GCCC 8 (Variste 3). Technical fouls--none. Fouled out--Pratt (Schieber), GCCC (none). Total fouls--Pratt 21, GCCC 24.