Buffs march into Hays Shootout title game
By BRETT MARSHALL
By BRETT MARSHALL
It's been a quarter century since the Garden City Buffaloes basketball team has advanced to the finals of the Hays City Shootout; and it's a tournament where they've played for the title on two occasions, and both times have come up short.
But the Buffs will try to change all that at 7 p.m. today when they face the host and top-seeded Hays Indians after summarily disapatching Western Athletic Conference rival Great Bend, 56-36, in Friday afternoon's semifinal at Hays High's gym. Hays, the pre-tourney favorite, easily handled Newton in the other semifinal, 60-35.
Just as they did in Thursday's opening round win over TMP-Marian, the Buffs finished off the fourth quarter with a strong performance, and that had head coach Jacy Holloway feeling mildly optimistic heading into today's championship game.
And the one stat that had him most pleased was the eight turnovers for the entire 32 minutes.
"That's huge because anytime you can stay under 10, it gives you a chance to get more of your own shots, and you don't give away easy baskets to the other team," Holloway said in a telephone interview after the game. "We still had some shots that were good ones, but we're not knocking them down yet, and we're not making that extra pass."
Holloway said it was an improved performance over the opening struggle with TMP.
"It was better, but we've got a long way to go to be the team I think we can be," Holloway said. "We've got high expectations. I'm not willing to make excuses for guys who have been in the program two, three years. The carryover from last year, and the summer, should be better than it is right now."
The Buffs started strong, breaking out to an 18-11 first quarter lead after being on top just 12-11 late in the period. Caleb Tramp, Emilio Parr and Hunter Delgado scored three straight times to give the Buffs a little breathing space. But it was Delgado, who was forced to miss the entire football season with a preseason injury, who really got the Buffs out of the barn early.
"He always comes out with a lot of energy," Holloway said of Delgado, who scored nine of his 11 points in the first eight minutes. "He doesn't need much to get warmed up."
The second and third quarters were low-scoring affairs, reminiscent of years past between the two WAC schools. The Buffs led 27-19 at halftime and were on top 36-27 after three periods.
The Panthers were within 10 early in the fourth, but the Buffs closed out with a 16-6 blitz.
Three players scored in double figures, with Delgado sharing high honors with Tristan Nanninga, while Tramp added 10. Parr was close behind with eight. Nine players cracked the scoring column for the Buffs. Trey Ibarra and Bryce Beck led Great Bend with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
"I like the balance we've had so far, and I think that is going to be one of the factors for us," Holloway said. "Defensively, we had a better effort, but we've got a lot of work to do on fundamentals, and being in the right position. We're still trying to play with our athleticism and not with our skills."
In consolation boys games Friday, it was TMP-Marian, the team the Buffs beat 65-54 in Thursday's opener, rolling past Colby, 72-51.
Garden City 18 9 9 20 -- 56
Great Bend 11 8 8 9 -- 36
Garden City (2-0)
Delgado 5 0-2 11, Olivas 1 0-0 3, Koster 2 0-0 4, Hernandez 1 0-0 2, Nanninga 4 3-4 11, Zapata 0 0-0 0, Parr 4 0-0 8, Rincones 1 0-0 3, Rodriguez 1 2-2 4, Tramp 4 2-4 10. Totals 23 7-12 56.
Great Bend (1-1)
Westhoff 0 0-2 0, Ibarra 5 2-4 14, Crosby 2 2-2 6, Beck 2 6-9 10, Reiser 1 0-1 3, Bryant 1 1-2 3, Warren 0 0-0 0, Titus 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 11-20 36.
3-point goals--Garden City 3 (Delgado 1, Olivas 1, Rincones 1), Great Bend 3 (Ibarra 2, Reiser 1). Fouls--Garden City 20, Great Bend 13. Fouled out--none.