Dragons nearly slain: Busters' rally from 18 down falls just short in Hutch, 82-77.

1/16/2014

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

Garden City men's basketball coach Brady Trenkle is not necessarily one for moral victories.

But if ever there was one, it's Wednesday night's 82-77 loss to No. 13 Hutchinson in the Hutchinson Sports Arena.

The Broncbusters (14-4, 0-2) trailed for all but the first few moments, with their only lead at 2-0. The Dragons (16-2, 2-0) seemed to inch further and further away as the night crept on. At one point, the Dragons led by 18 points late in the first half, then by 17 with 13:15 to play in the second and finally seemed to be in control by 16 with five minutes to play.

But the Busters then made their move. They went on a 16-2 run in less than four minutes to cut the deficit to just two, 77-75, with a minute to go.

"Last five minutes, we got (the Dragons) back onto their heels and gave ourselves a chance," Trenkle said after the game. "My guys wanted it. They wanted to win. You get down 18 points and find a way to cut it down to two, that's all you can ask."

During the comeback, the Busters' Jeremy Wilson scored nine straight points, starting with a three from the right corner, then two putbacks, and finishing with a driving layup to pull the Busters within seven. Then, Jade Cathey added in a layup of his own, hit the front end of two free throws, missed the back end only to grab the rebound and put it back for two more, bringing the Busters within four.

It was another one of Wilson's driving layups that brought the Busters to within two, 77-75.

But, similar to their Achilles heel on Saturday against Seward, poor free-throw shooting kept the Busters from completing the dramatic comeback.

The Busters were only 3-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final three minutes (10-for-21 for the game), while the Dragons hit their final six free throws to salt away the game, and were 32-of-40 overall.

"I'm proud of them," Trenkle said. "In a way, it is a moral victory. But at the end of the day, I think this team can make some noise still. Last time we dropped two in a row we went on a 11-game winning streak, so we'll find out what this team is made of."

Cathey finished with a team-high 20 points on 9-of-22 shooting, while Wilson was a more efficient 7-of-12 for 17 points.

The Busters' comeback attempt was headed by their domination of the offensive glass, where they hauled in 30 offensive boards en route to 23 second-chance points. Eight of those offensive boards were grabbed by Cathey or Wilson. The Busters also won the overall rebounding battle, 50-38, as Cathey and Wilson had eight each.

"We had the right kind of energy tonight," Trenkle said. "It's something about this building that brings out the energy in kids."

The Busters had a chance to pull within two with 2:30 left, when June Johnson had a wide-open 3-pointer rattle in and out of the basket. If that had gone in, the Busters would have only trailed 75-73 at that point.

Including Johnson's 1-for-6 from beyond the arc, the Busters were 3-of-18 overall.

"We shot too many 3s," Trenkle said. "We're not a 3-point shooting team. But June goes 1-for-6. I mean, how often is June going 1-for-6? He's a 40 percent shooter."

The Dragons built their nearly game-long double-figure lead on the back of All-American guard Kadeem Allen, who scored 22 on 7-of-13 shooting and 6-of-9 from the free-throw line. Forward DeShawn Freeman added 14, followed by Coreontae DeBerry and Austin Budke with 13 each.

The Busters return home to take on conference foe Colby (8-10, 0-2) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Perryman Athletic Complex. Colby fell 85-82 to Seward County on Wednesday night.

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Garden City (14-4, 0-2) -- Bell 0-1 0-0 0, King 1-2 0-0 3, Variste 1-12 3-6 5, Oyugi 0-1 0-0 0, Wilson 7-12 2-2 17, Johnson 3-10 0-0 7, Taylor 3-7 1-2 7, Cathey 9-22 2-7 20, Whitaker 3-6 1-2 7, Pierre 1-5 0-0 2, Banks 4-4 1-2 9. Total 32-82 10-21 77.

Hutchinson (16-2, 2-0) -- Wood 1-3 7-7 9, Allen 7-13 6-9 22, Watson 0-1 0-0 0, Budke 5-6 2-2 13, Whittingham 2-9 5-7 9, DeBerry 4-5 5-6 13, Jackson 1-5 0-0 2, Freeman 3-5 7-9 14. Totals 23-47 32-40 82.

Halftime--Hutchinson 46-33. 3-point goals--Garden City 3-18 (King 1-2, Wilson 1-3, Johnson 1-6, Taylor 0-2, Cathey 0-3, Pierre 0-2), Hutchinson 4-6 (Allen 2-3, Budke 1-2, Freeman 1-1). Rebounds-- Garden City 50 (Cathey, Wilson 8), Hutchinson 38 (DeBerry 8). Assists-- Garden City 13 (Variste 6), Hutchinson 10 (Allen 3). Technical fouls--Garden City (Wilson). Fouled out--none. Total fouls--Garden City 27, Hutchinson 17.

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