Busters overcome FT woes to clip Colby
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
COLBY — Free-throw shooting has been a problem all season for the Garden City Community College Broncbusters.
They came into Saturday night's Jayhawk Conference West Division game at Colby shooting just 61.9 percent from the charity stripe. They shot even worse than that in the Colby Community Building, going 14 of 25 (56 percent) as the Trojans attempted to rally from a 12-point deficit in the second half.
Taking advantage of the Busters' poor free-throw shooting, the Trojans cut the game-long deficit to just 57-55 with less than a minute to play.
That's when sophomore D'Shon Taylor took things into his own hands, hitting all four of his free throws in the final 45 seconds to capture the hard-fought conference win, 62-55, and to get the Busters back to .500 in the Jayhawk West at 4-4 (18-6 overall).
"I struggled for the past couple of games (with free-throw shooting)," the 6-foot-5 Taylor said after the game. "So I really made it an emphasis of mine to get to the gym early in the morning, around 5 o'clock, and get up a lot of shots, and work on my ballhandling and that really helped me when I approach the free-throw line. I have the utmost confidence in my skills."
It's that confidence that Taylor said is the most important aspect of free-throw shooting, especially in big moments at the end of the game.
"For me, it's all about accepting it," Taylor, who finished tied for a game-high 15 points and 5 of 6 from the line off of the bench, said. "I feel the jitters, and I recognize it and then just kind of push it away and focus on what I have to do."
For the Busters on Saturday, what they had to do was get a win on the road against the struggling Trojans — who fell to 9-16 and 0-9 — something that's proven to be difficult in the Jayhawk, no matter who is the opponent.
"When you play Colby, you've got to throw their record aside," Buster head coach Brady Trenkle said. "Any road win is a good win, I don't care who you're playing.
"Everytime I've played (in Colby), it's always come down to exactly like this (a close game at the end)," Trenkle said.
The Busters and Trojans exchanged quick scores early as both teams hit on a couple of 3-pointers and had a couple of dunks to energize both the away and home crowds. The Trojans grabbed an 18-17 lead 10 minutes into the first half on Justin Talley's 3-pointer from the right wing.
The Busters answered on a put back by Talan Whitaker to regain the lead, and the Trojans countered with a pair of free throws from Scott City native Joey Meyer to take a 20-19 lead with 6:44 left in the first. But that would be the last time the Trojans led.
The Busters' Reuben King hit one of his three 3-pointers in the first half to give the Busters a 22-20 lead and the Busters stretched it to 32-27 at the break.
To begin the second half, the Busters quickly lengthened the lead to double digits on seven-straight points from sophomore Jeremy Wilson, who had a put back to open the final 20 minutes, a 3-pointer from the left wing 30 seconds later and then a driving lay up off a fake long jumper to give the Busters their largest lead at 39-27.
The Trojans began to mount their comeback with 10 minutes left as the Busters committed five turnovers in the next six minutes.
Leading 52-48, Taylor completed another big play for the Busters when they needed it the most. He drove the lane for a layup and drew a foul. He went to the line to try to complete the old-fashioned 3-point play as Trenkle sent the other four Busters on the floor to set up on defense.
Taylor missed his only free throw of the night, but instead of the easy rebound for the four Trojans, Taylor gathered his own miss and put it back for another two points to give the Busters the 56-48 lead.
"It's because he's determined," Trenkle said of the Nassau, Bahamas, native. "The kid's determined."
That eight-point margin kept the Trojans at bay until Taylor was able to put the game away with the four free throws to end the game.
The Busters also got 14 points each from King and Wilson, and Jalen Variste had nine points. The Trojans were led by Jeremiah Ingram's 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting as he finished with a double-double with 10 rebounds. Branden Williams also had 14 points and Roman Johnson had 10 for Colby on top of 11 boards for his double-double. Meyer had nine points.
The Busters have a quick turnaround before their next game as the Hutchinson Blue Dragons come to Garden City at 7:30 p.m. today in a make-up game of Wednesday's postponed contest because of weather. The 12th-ranked Blue Dragons (20-4, 6-2) fell at home, 84-82, to Seward County on Saturday night. Meanwhile, the Trojans also host the Blue Dragons in their next game on Wednesday.
GCCC (18-6, 4-4)--King 5-11 1-5 14, Variste 3-9 3-5 9, Wilson 5-11 1-2 14, Johnson 0-5 0-0 0, Whitaker 1-6 4-6 6, Bell 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor 5-7 5-6 15, Cathey 1-9 0-2 2, Pierre 0-2 0-0 0, Banks 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 21-63 14-25 63.
CCC (9-16, 0-9)--Starks 1-10 1-2 4, Summers 0-5 0-0 0, Ingram 4-12 7-8 15, Meyer 2-7 5-6 9, Johnson 2-10 6-8 10, Williams 4-8 5-6 14, Talley 1-2 0-0 3, Barley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-54 24-30 55.
Halftime--Garden City 32-27. 3-point goals--GCCC 6-15 (King 3-4, Variste 0-1, Wilson 3-5, Johnson 0-2, Bell 0-1, Taylor 0-1, Cathey 0-1), Colby 3-14 (Starks 1-4, Summers 0-5, Ingram 0-1, Williams 1-2, Talley 1-2). Rebounds--GCCC 40 (Whitaker 7), Colby 47 (Johnson 11). Technican fouls--GCCC 1 (Wilson), Colby 1 (Meyer). Fouled out--GCCC none, Colby 1 (Williams). Total fouls--GCCC 21, Colby 18.