Handling Hutch: Busters get balance in Dragon upset
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
Hutchinson's Kadeem Allen lived up to his All-American billing.
No Garden City Community College Broncbuster seemed able to guard the Arizona University commit as he scored a seemingly-easy 35 points in Monday night's KJCCC game at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
Yet, Allen's outstanding effort was not enough to stop the Busters' upset bid over the 12th-ranked Blue Dragons, 84-73.
"You can't guard him," head coach Brady Trenkle said after the game of the 6-foot-3 sophomore. "I actually think we did a good job on him. He's just that good. He's the best junior college player I've ever seen."
After trailing 37-31 at half, the Busters had to try to mount a comeback in the final 20 minutes. But any time they seemed to make a run, Allen would hit another big bucket or draw a foul to go to the line. In a three-possession stretch for the Blue Dragons from the 16-minute mark to 14 minutes, Allen scored on a fast-break dunk, pulled up for a 3-pointer at the top of the arc and then scored on a driving layup to keep the Dragons on top, 51-45.
But the balanced Busters had an answer from one of the unlikeliest sources. Freshman Tidell Pierre came into Monday night's game averaging just 3.2 points and just over 10 minutes a game. But following Allen's scoring outburst in the middle of the second, Pierre hit back-to-back 3-pointers and then was fouled on a third 3-point attempt on the next possession. He went to the line and drained all three, giving the Busters a 54-53 lead with 12:26 left to play.
Even though the Dragons took the lead back just a couple of minutes later, the 6-foot-5 Pierre had given the Busters the momentum.
The Long Island, N.Y., native finished with a team-high 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.
"It's a big step for us," Trenkle said of Pierre's career night when the team needed it most. "It's been something we've been waiting for all year."
The Dragons held their final lead at 58-57 when yet another Buster stepped up on multiple consecutive possessions. Leading just 60-59 with 7:52 to play, 5-10 Jalen Variste drove the lane for a twisting layup through traffic. The next time down the floor, he faked the drive and pulled up for a jumper from 14 feet. Then leading 64-61, he hit a long jumper just inside the arc to make it 66-61. The Dragons got as close as 70-68 with 3:40 to play, but Jade Cathey's driving layup and then a pair of free throws on the next possession gave the Busters a 74-70 advantage.
Allen kept hitting back, though, scoring 10 of the Dragons' last 14 points. But he never put them over the top and the Busters held on for their first win over the Blue Dragons since 2011.
"This is a great win," Trenkle said simply as the Busters outscored the Dragons 53-36 in the second half.
Trenkle gushed about not only how his team played on Monday, but their drive and willingness to sacrifice this entire season.
"I've never had a team buy in like this team has bought in," he said. "That's the kind of team you want to coach."
And the Busters' ability to play as a team is what made all the difference on Monday he said.
Led by Pierre's 18, the balanced Buster squad had five players in double digits. Reuben King, Cathey and Variste all had 15 points, while Talan Whitaker chipped in a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.
Outside of Allen's 35, Nathan Jackson had 13 points for the Dragons, while Coreontae DeBerry chipped in with eight.
The Busters (18-6, 5-4) will play their third game in five days on Wednesday when they travel to Liberal to take on Seward County (17-8, 7-2). The Dragons (20-5, 6-3) travel to Colby on Wednesday for their next game.
Hutch (20-5, 6-3)--Wood 3-9 3-4 10, Allen 10-18 13-22 35, Budke 1-7 3-3 5, DeBerry 2-3 4-4 8, Jackson 5-8 3-4 13, Watson 0-1 0-0 0, Sands 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 22-49 26-37 73.
GCCC (19-6, 5-4)--King 5-11 3-6 15, Variste 5-13 5-6 15, Wilson 0-3 0-0 0, Johnson 1-5 0-0 2, Whitaker 4-9 3-4 11, Taylor 0-4 3-4 3, Cathey 3-7 9-13 15, Pierre 5-6 4-5 18, Banks 2-2 1-2 5. Totals 25-60 28-40 84.
Halftime--Hutch 37-31. 3-point goals--Hutch 3-11 (Wood 1-4, Allen 2-5, Watson 0-1, Budke 0-1), GCCC 6-14 (King 2-4, Variste 0-1, Wilson 0-2, Johnson 0-1, Cathey 0-1, Pierre 4-5). Rebounds--Hutch 32 (Jackson 9), GCCC 38 (Whitaker 11). Assists--Hutch 9 (Jackson 4), GCCC 13 (Variste 6). Technical fouls--none. Fouled out--Hutch (DeBerry, Jackson, Watson), GCCC (Wilson). Total fouls--Hutch 27, GCCC 23.