Busters head west to face Laramie Co., E. Wyoming
By ADAM HOLT
Coming off its first loss of the season, things won't get any easier for the Garden City Community College men's basketball team this weekend.
The 4-1 Broncbusters head to Cheyenne, Wyo., to face Laramie County (Wyo.) and Eastern Wyoming in the Golden Eagle Classic. Garden City plays Laramie County at 7 p.m. Friday and Eastern Wyoming at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Garden City struggled to score consistently in a 69-56 loss to North Platte, Neb. on Saturday in the Pepsi Classic, after finding success on offense pretty easily in its first four wins.
"We obviously got a little bit of a wake-up call, coming up as short as we did offensively in the last game," GCCC head coach Rand Chappell said. "The guys have come out with a good attention span. We're trying to improve our ball movement and trying to get the ball in and out, inside and back out, things like that. I think we're seeing some progress — it's a work in progress¬ -- but I think we're getting there."
Chappell attributed some of the struggles to the fact Garden City has a completely new roster this year, and is still working on chemistry.
Three Busters are averaging double figures in scoring, with Reuben King scoring a team-best 16.7 points per game. Chris Hall is averaging 14.3 per game, while Frank Agholor adds 10 — but so far, seven Busters are scoring at least seven points per contest.
Still, Chappell said things might have been too easy for Garden City in its first four games.
"To be honest, I think we got lulled into a little bit of — it was too easy for us to score, to be honest," he said. "We were thinking we could shoot it fast and get to the rim fast, and we just played a better team where we had to show more patience."
Laramie County won't make it easy for Garden City to try to rediscover any rhythm on offense. The 4-1 Golden Eagles play a tough zone defense, and have a pair of big centers in 6-foot-9 Ude Ifeanyichukwu and 6-foot-10 Okechukwu Arnold. Laramie County has big guards as well, and Chappell said the zone defense is a whole new thing for the Busters to work on.
Garden City struggled to get to the rim against North Platte, which did a good job of clogging the lane. And Chappell said the Busters need to do a better job of moving the ball around with purpose, especially against the Golden Eagles' zone.
"It's important for us to be a balanced offense because of their size," Chappell said. "They don't mind spreading out a little bit and trying to tip some balls, and even inviting you into their 6-10 shot blockers. So it's a pretty tough defense to attack."
Eastern Wyoming is 3-1, and both the Golden Eagles' and Lancers' only loss came to No. 19 Casper College (Wyo.) And playing two games in less than 24 hours after a long road trip will be another challenge for Garden City.
On the positive side, Chappell said road trips help the team bond, and will prepare GCCC for travel once conference play starts.
All in all, though, it won't be an easy weekend.
"We're playing two good teams," Chappell said. "So it's gonna be a big challenge for us."