Southwest Classic: Buffs broom Pueblo East

12/16/2013

By BRETT MARSHALL

By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

The upcoming holiday break and Christmas celebration will be much more enjoyable for the Garden City Buffaloes boys and girls basketball teams thanks to a Saturday night sweep of Pueblo, Colo., East at The Garden on the day Clarion Inn Southwest Classic.

For Jacy Holloway's boys, the win came in the form of a second-half rally that produced a 58-52 triumph over a team that was 5-1, ranked No. 4 in Colorado's Class 4A, and had knocked off both Scott City and Holcomb in the first two days of the Classic.

The Lady Buffs, meanwhile, rolled to a 30-point third-quarter lead, then played reserves the rest of the way with the benefit of a running clock, and ended with a 56-42 triumph over the Lady Eagles.

Garden City boys 58, Pueblo East 52

After a disappointing 10-point loss to Denver South on Friday night, Holloway watched the Buffs play nearly even for a quarter with the highly-regarded Eagles, a team that had demolished Garden a year ago (73-51) at Pueblo.

Then, things deteriorated for the Buffs as Pueblo went on an 11-0 run and eventually took a 27-18 lead at halftime.

"I looked up at the board, and thought as bad as we had played, to be down only nine, that we were still in the game," Holloway said.

Then, the Buffs came out after a spirited halftime locker room discussion and played perhaps their best eight-minute quarter of the young season.

With senior Hunter Delgado sparking the rally, the Buffs came from down 30-22 at the 6:23 mark and then hit the Eagles with a 19-3 blitz to take a 41-33 lead into the final quarter.

Delgado, who had to miss the entire football season due to a serious kidney injury that he suffered in the preseason scrimmage in August, said he was just now rounding into form, both physically and mentally.

"It's been tough, but I'm starting to get back into it," Delgado said after scoring a team-high 14 points, including a pair of clutch 3-pointers in that third-quarter run.

Delgado said much of the change and improvement from the first half to the second came in the team's ability to better talk on the defensive end of the floor.

"Just the vocal part was way better, and it's gotten better each game I think," Delgado said.

The Buffs' biggest lead came at 43-33 when Caleb Tramp opened the fourth on a layup that came on an assist from Delgado. But that lead dwindled to two, 45-43, at the 3:45 mark after East's Dylan Gavin drilled a deep 3-pointer. The Buffs then reeled off seven straight points, including a dipsy-doo underhanded layup and ensuing free throw by Jared Koster that gave the Buffs a little breathing room at 50-43 with 2:37 remaining.

Pueblo could never get the deficit to under five, and the Buffs left the floor with their most impressive win of the young season.

"They're definitely one of the best teams we'll see all year," Holloway said of East. "It's the only way I wanted to head into Christmas."

Holloway said the third-quarter comeback was all about tightening up things on the defensive end.

While Delgado was the lone double-figure scorer for the Buffs, they did get nine players in the scoring column. Junior Luis Rodriguez played a big part on the inside, providing nine points, and more importantly 10 rebounds, as the Buffs won the board battle, 35-33.

Pueblo got 17 points from Gavin and 11 from guard Tj Gradisar.

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Pueblo East 11 12 6 19 -- 52

Garden City 9 9 23 17 -- 58

Pueblo East (5-2) — Cruz 1-5 0-2 2, Jara 1-4 3-4 5, Gradisar 4-13 1-2 11, Armijo 2-4 0-0 4, Gavis 6-12 4-7 17, Gutierrez 1-1 1-1 3, Valdez 2-7 2-3 6, Fesmire 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 18-49 11-19 52.

Garden City (4-2) — Delgado 3-4 6-11 14, Olivas 1-3 2-2 5, Koster 2-5 4-5 8, Hernandez 1-6 0-0 2, Nanninga 1-6 5-7 7, Parr 2-3 1-1 5, Love 0-0 2-2 2, Rincones 0-2 0-0 0, Rodriguez 4-5 1-3 9, Tramp 3-8 0-1 6, Gurrola 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-43 21-32 58.

3-point goals--Pueblo East 3-11 (Cruz 0-1, Jara 0-1, Gradisar 2-5, Armijo 0-1, Gavin 1-3), Garden City 3-7 (Delgado 2-3, Olivas 1-2, Hernandez 0-1, Rincones 0-1). Rebounds--Pueblo 33 (Gavin 10), Garden City 35 (Rodriguez 10). Turnovers--Pueblo 15, Garden City 15. Fouls--Pueblo 26, Garden City 16. Fouled out--Pueblo (Jara, Armijo, Valdez).

Garden City girls 56, Pueblo East 42

After struggling on the defensive end a week earlier and losing two of three games at the Hays City Shootout, Garden City girls coach David Upton was looking to have his team shore up that end of the court during the three days of the Clarion Inn Southwest Classic.

Consider that goal checked off on the to-do list.

After Saturday night's 56-42 victory over a Pueblo, Colo., East team that had come in with a 4-2 record, the Lady Buffs finished off the three-day Classic with three wins and now own a 4-2 record heading into the holiday break. In the three games, the Lady Buffs only gave up 24 points to Wichita Trinity and 29 points to Denver South.

And through three quarters of Saturday night's triumph, the Lady Eagles had just 24 points up on the board.

With a running clock in the fourth quarter, thanks to a 30-point margin (54-24), and substituting with his bench with seven minutes to play and up by 32, Pueblo did make the score respectable, but the outcome was never in doubt. The Lady Eagles scored the final 18 points against the Lady Buffs' reserves.

The Lady Buffs' two big offensive weapons — 5-11 junior Jaymie Bernbeck and 5-8 Taryn Tempel, came up with big performances. Bernbeck finished with a game-high 20 points and Tempel was right behind with 18 points. Five other GCHS players got into the scoring column.

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Pueblo East 6 12 6 18 -- 42

Garden City 23 20 11 2 -- 56

Pueblo East (4-3) — Laughlin 7-14 0-0 14, Horvat 1-4 0-0 2, Winston 2-6 1-3 5, Albo 2-8 2-4 8, Day 1-6 0-0 2, Minich 3-9 0-0 9, Simony 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-50 3-7 42.

Garden City (4-2) — Padilla 1-4 0-0 3, Butler 0-1 0-0 0, Linenberger 0-2 0-0 0, Hinde 0-0 0-1 0, Tornero 1-3 0-0 2, Brunson 0-5 0-0 0, Tempel 6-11 4-4 18, McKee 4-4 1-2 9, Dreiling 1-4 0-0 2, Bernbeck 8-15 4-5 20, Carrillo 0-2 0-1 0, Elliott 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 23-54 9-13 56.

3-point goals--Pueblo East 5-17 (Laughlin 0-3, Winston 0-1, Albo 2-5, Minich 3-8), Garden City 1-8 (Padilla 1-3, Tornero 0-2, Brunson 0-2, Tempel 0-1). Rebounds--Pueblo East 33 (Winston 10), Garden City 34 (Linenberger, McKee 6 each). Turnovers--Pueblo East 25, Garden City 20. Fouls--Pueblo East 12, Garden City 10. Fouled out--none.

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