Garden City Buffaloes

Garden City Buffaloes

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Demonized: Lady Buffs suffer 37-36 loss to Dodge in 6A sub-state.

Published 3/1/2013


It didn't seem to matter that the Garden City Lady Buffaloes basketball team had swept through the Western Athletic Conference season unbeaten at 8-0, and that the Dodge City Lady Red Demons finished next-to-last with a 1-6 record.

Nor did it matter that the Lady Buffaloes were 17-3 overall at the conclusion of the regular season, having completed the most successful campaign in school history. It didn't even matter that the Lady Demons had won just five games, losing 14 during the regular season, including two 20-plus point losses (60-37, 60-38) to the same Lady Buffs.

Nope. None of that mattered Thursday night at the New Garden when the two rival schools met for the third time this season, this one a Class 6A sub-state semifinal to determine who would take on No. 2 seed Maize, a 47-32 winner over Campus, in Saturday's championship for a chance to go to state.

Last, but not least, it mattered not one iota that the Lady Buffs had not lost in their new home all season, going 9-0.

All that mattered in the end, really, is that Dodge City somehow came up with its best game of the season, while the Lady Buffs had perhaps their most dismal effort, and the result was a crushing 37-36 loss to the Lady Demons.

The Lady Demons take their 6-14 record to Maize on Saturday, while the Lady Buffs finish at 17-4.

And while Garden City coach David Upton was certainly having a difficult time coming up with an explanation, Dodge City coach Kelley Snodgrass, who had coached the previous six seasons at Holcomb, said her game plan was carried out to near-perfection.

"It's tough to play a team three times, and Garden's a great team," said Snodgrass, who had coached Holcomb a year ago in a 57-56 overtime loss against most of the same Garden City players. "Our girls worked hard and we just had to slow the game down and keep Garden from getting in its up-tempo game. I thought our guards took good care of the ball in transition, and I couldn't be more proud of my girls."

For Upton, it was digesting the game statistics and then shaking his head in near disbelief.

He had just watched his team shoot 17-of-46 from the field (36.9 percent), 1-of-6 from the 3-point range (16.6 percent) and most stunning, a 1-of-10 free throw performance. Dodge, meanwhile, hit a respectable 43.7 percent from the field, 5-of-12 from behind the arc and were 4-of-5 at the charity stripe.

To make things worse, the shorter Lady Demons won the rebounding battle, just barely, at 28-27. The only stat that didn't favor the Lady Demons was turnovers, where they had 17 to 12 for the Lady Buffs.

"I'd said earlier that anytime you have to play a team a third time, I just hate to have that third game," Upton said. "We didn't match their energy, and it just looked like they wanted it more than we did. To be blunt, I think we were complacent."

The slower pace from the outset put the Lady Demons right where Snodgrass wanted them to be, leading 7-6 after one quarter.

Garden City made a good run through the second period in building a 19-11 halftime lead and expanded that to 25-14 early in the third. But Dodge hung around and pulled to within 29-23 at the end of the third period, finishing the quarter on a 9-4 run.

After moving back out to an eight-point lead with 4:37 remaining when Johna McClelland's off-balance shot went in, the Buffs seemed to slow to a snail's pace. That allowed Dodge to reel off seven unanswered points, pulling to within one, 33-32, with 1:28 remaining.

McClelland drained an 8-footer in the lane with 1:11 showing, but then Jessica Harshberger knocked down a 12-foot baseline jumper with 0:59 showing to draw Dodge within 35-34. A critical turnover by the Buffs with 35 seconds left gave the Demons another chance, and they took advantage of it, this time when Ciera Lampe drilled a dagger into the Buffs with her third 3-pointer of the game with 23 seconds remaining, providing the Demons with a 37-35 lead.

Garden's Taryn Tempel, the lone double-figure scorer for the Buffs with 15, was fouled with nine seconds left and went to the stripe for a pair of free throws. She had struggled all night there (0-for-6 at the time) and she made the first, missed the second, making it 37-36. The Buffs were three fouls away from putting Dodge into the bonus and it proved to be the final undoing, as Dodge simply caught the ball three consecutive times inbounds to take mere ticks off the clock each time. By the time Dodge was able to go to the line for a 1-and-1, there were just 0:02.4 seconds left. Lampe missed, McClelland grabbed the rebound, heaved a halfcourt pass to Tempel who was unable to get off a potential game-winning shot before the buzzer.

Just like that, the Lady Buffs' glorious season was down the drain.

"I really felt when we had the lead and we had the clock in our favor that I wanted to pull them out of their zone," Upton said of his decision to go into a semi-delay. "We wanted to look for some cutters, but we missed some shots, we made bad passes to bad places on the court and you can't do that. Top to bottom, we didn't execute the way we had all season. And we paid a heavy price for that.

"There were times where it looked like we were playing not to lose, rather than playing to win, and you just can't do that. This game hurts, and it hurts for the girls. They've been great all season and it hurts to see it end this way for them."

McClelland is the lone senior on the roster, and the Washburn-bound 6-3 post player, finished with eight points and six rebounds.

Lampe scored 11 points to pace the Lady Demons.


Dodge City 7 4 12 14 -- 37

Garden City 6 13 10 7 -- 36

Dodge City (37) — Pike 3-3 0-0 6, Wilson 0-2 0-0 0, Sain 0-3 0-0 0, Sanchez 2-6 3-4 8, Harshberger 3-4 0-0 6, Roenfeldt 2-6 1-1 6, Lampe 4-8 0-0 11. Totals 14-32 4-5 37.

Garden City (36) — McClelland 4-11 0-2 8, Padilla 0-2 0-0 0, Linenberger 0-1 0-0 0, Carrillo 0-0 0-0 0, Tornero 2-4 0-0 5, Brunson 0-1 0-0 0, Tempel 7-13 1-8 15, McKee 2-5 0-0 4, Bernbeck 2-9 0-0 4. Totals 17-46 1-10 36.

3-point goals--Dodge City 5-12 (Wilson 0-1, Sain 0-2, Sanchez 1-2, Roenfeld 1-2, Lampe 3-5), Garden City 1-6 (Padilla 0-1, Tornero 1-2, Brunson 0-1, Tempel 0-2). Rebounds--Dodge City 28 (Sanchez 9), Garden City 27 (McClelland 6). Turnovers--Dodge City 17, Garden City 12. Fouls--Dodge City 13, Garden City 13. Fouled out--none.

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Found 28 comment(s)!

All of these comments

I am from California and you folks from "mid-america" shouldn't say one derogatory thing about Californians. I have coached both girls and boys sports for 30 years and I have never seen such a pathetic diatribe as I have seen here. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. If you have a problem with any sport or athletics at your school handle it like adults, not like cowards who rip kids, coaches, and each other because you think the world has ended. Its just a game. wow. Pathetic.

Posted by: Randy Page on 3/13/2013


really thruth just by the way your talking.. I think were all trying to put all this behind us.. your either old school or a bitter parent that your son or daughter either did not play sports or did not make it... we all just need to move on... but, what comes around will goes around...

Posted by: fan on 3/13/2013


You all know what...EVEN GREAT TEAMS LOSE sometimes...get over it. ALL sporting programs need an attitude revamp. Wouldn't it be nice if people put as much heart into other school functions like classwork, art, drama, etc. as they do in sports??!! The general thought process by parents & coaches needs adjusted NOW. Just how many kids go into sports as professionals?? VERY why is it that sports have become such an all-encompassing aspect of school?? Maybe, just maybe if each of us would go stand in front of a mirror & be honest with ourselves....we could put sports back into persective & ones school education back to being 1st.

Posted by: cat on 3/13/2013


First of all GCHS will never win a championship unless they start playing talent, Second of all they need to play as a team, They need a toughter schedule so they can be ready for anything. They need a Coach that coaches,and doesn't care what parents say or how much money they donate to the program. We have alot of this going on in all sports. Most of these kids that there parents donate all this money don't amount to anything,they don't even play in college because there not good enough. It jus show all those years there parents have paid for them to play in High school. As for our Sports Director he needs to treat all sports equal just because its a a guys sport doesn't mean anything. Our girls are just as tough some are evening toughter then the guys that are in sports. We have lost alot of very good players due to Coaches & the Sports Director in the pasted and now. We lost to DC because we were out played and we went around one player. It wasn't one player that got them there. It took a team. Husband & wife shouldn't coach together and they need a babysitter. WE NEED A COACH THAT PLAYS TALENT.

Posted by: Fan on 3/8/2013


I think it is time for a new start. It is not the kids that are in question - it is the leadership. The leadership is SKEWED! Why are good players not going out? What is the district's policy on nepotism? Is this not a team sport? Some of the things that have be said here are crazy. All I know IS ....... where there is smoke there is fire. Think we need to put it out and get "NEW LEADERSHIP"

Posted by: concerned parent on 3/7/2013


You know this is silly - The unfornate part is that most people don't really know everything. There is a lot of things that need to come to light. It's a lot more then just one game, one girl, or even the coach. It is pretty sad but in reality its time to start fresh and if that means new coach so be it.

Posted by: response to all on 3/7/2013

You people REALLY need to get a life. It is pathetic to for one, talk about how the coaches so called "bicker" at practice when look at yourselves bickering online like children. Everyone of you need to realize how much hard work these girls have put in this season. Instead of sitting behind a computer bashing the girls and the coach, speak postive about their season. The damage you cause by saying these things can effect them in the long run. IT IS JUST A GAME!

Posted by: how old are we here? on 3/6/2013


Go back and watch the game on-line. The girls were outhustled and outshot bottom line. The Dodge girls played with intensity and Garden did not. At no point anywhere should the finger be pointed at one player as every player on the team had their moments as well. It was a team loss not the coaches and certainly not one player's. You people are all laughable!!! Obviously you do not know what goes on in the huddle or gym or you wouldn't be playing armchair coaches. It is what it is--they got beat! Cry about it!

Posted by: "gc fan" on 3/6/2013

Coach Question

Why is a husband-wife couple even allowed to coach together on the same team?? Word has it that these coaches would bicker very frequently during practice and even games. Bickered old married couple. Ohhhh wait.........

Posted by: Confused on 3/5/2013

To "Seriously"

Yes, GC lost six, excuse me "SIX" varsity players but still won WAC. Six players left for a reason. Common denominator? Good for winning WAC, but WAC was NOT very strong at all. Open your eyes.......Seriously

Posted by: GC fan on 3/5/2013


Bottom line, the GCHS girls have done for well for 2 reasons: they DO have some skill, and they played against many teams that had little. They really did not play together as a team unselfishly, rather to support a player or two at the coach's wishes. Why was there only one senior and other past varsity players who did not play this year? It was NOT due to other activities. It's pretty simple and apparent: they wanted to actually play team ball instead of supporting roles in the "Show". Making sure to stack stats for some instead of allowing all to play their team ball game was what occurred. The "INAM" (It's Not About Me) on some of their shirts was not true. "IAAone" is more appropriate. Which is why the number of girls who have leftbasketball is so high and the ones left so low. Way to hurt a program, " coach" .

Posted by: JG on 3/5/2013


"Talent wins games but teamwork and intelligence wins Championships"

Posted by: gc on 3/4/2013

open you eyes

I truly agree with so sad, open your eyes to the big picture and till that changes our girls will not go any where.. there are a few problems on the team and they need to get fixed or next year varsity bench will be empty..

Posted by: GC on 3/3/2013


sometimes God allows things to happen just so us as humans will realize that it's not all about our kids it's a team effort and all the players on the team should be treated equally. and not till that happens the Girls will go to a different level... Girls need to respect and appreciate each other on the court and parents need to stop telling their kids to take it to the hole and don't pass the ball when open players are in front. and that happened time after time.. I'm glad I'm only a fan cause I would hate that be done to my child.. When coach just stands there and allows that to happen it's sad for the girls... were a 6A School and how many girls went out? Good Luck next year....

Posted by: GC FAN on 3/3/2013


One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team but one man cannot make a team....

Posted by: GC Fan on 3/3/2013

When a coach tells player not to shoot and they have to keep watching him he really isnt helping anyone- or himself either-keeps team confused and refs are trying to figure out what coach means by his actions even laughing about the game at times. One team member cant win on their own. A team and coach must be a "family". Kelly did a great job and I commend her for that-------

Posted by: unhappy on 3/3/2013

well said

Well said outraged fan!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Fan on 3/3/2013


Obviously some of you that are commenting have not watched these girls play all year long, and I doubt you were even at this game to see what a joke he is as a coach....It is true they did not shoot the ball well, it is true that they missed free throws. BUT do you know that this team is at its best when they push the tempo!!! Do you know that he had them STALL for the entire fourth quarter!! Even when we were only up by 1 point.. Do you know that he was calling plays for 1 player to drive to the basket that had already missed 6 free throws in the game. When we have a point guard who has a 86% free throw average or higher!!! Do you know that one of the players is at her best in transition and Upton took her completely out of her game, by slowing the pace down..
For those of you commenting that they lost 6 Seniors, you are so wrong...They only lost 2 seniors, and the others chose not to play for different reasons... Wonder what was the real reason for not wanting to play???
I am sorry but this team could have beat DC by 20 without a coach..
But championship are won by teams not individuals and until this coach starts focusing on the entire team and not 1 players stats they will never win the big games...AND I am sorry for those of you that think winning WAC this year was a great accomplishment, our WAC was weak and our coach is even weaker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For the record HE did not win this team any games, that is all on the girls and their talent.. AND ONCE AGAIN HE WILL NOT EXCEPT BLAME WHEN THEY LOSE FOR HIS COACHING MISTAKES!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Outraged Fan on 3/2/2013


What does it tell you when you only have one senior on the team!! They only had 7 players on JV, thanks to a player transfer from Holcomb. JV players are the future of your team. GOOD LUCK The players have no respect for the coaches.

Posted by: Confussed2 on 3/2/2013


The girls didn't make key shots,ie shooting 1 of 10 from the free throw. That has nothing to do with being outcoached. This coach has turned the girls' program around. I guess no one remembers the STAGGERING losses the girls' teams endured before Coach Upton got here. He took a team that lost SIX varsity players from last year and still won WAC for the first time ever. I guess you wouldn't be stunned - people who love to tear others down never are. I must admit, I'n NOT STUNNED by your poor attitude. Garden City is full of naysayers. That is the bottom line.

Posted by: REAL Fan on 3/1/2013


"Out coached" is NOT the bottom line. Those girls were walking around school all day talking about playing Maize. Clearly, they were not focused on the task at hand, and it cost them big time. If you're a player and you cannot focus on the game at hand, then find something else to do.

Posted by: GC Student on 3/1/2013


The girls didn't make key shots. That has nothing to do with being outcoached. This coach has turned the girls' program around. I guess no one remembers the STAGGERING losses the girls' teams had before he got here. He took a team that lost SIX varsity players from last year and still won WAC for the first time ever. I guess you shouldn't be stunned - people who love to tear others down never are.

Posted by: Real Fan on 3/1/2013

Not Stunned

Does that mean the players won the other 17 games with bad coaching? There were way to many missed shots under the basket. Bottom Line!

Posted by: Larry on 3/1/2013


I would not consider shooting 1/10 from the free throw line and missing many easy layups being out coached! All that you ask is that the Head Coach put the players in a situation to win the game with the talent to do so...Garden City missed many opportunities to win the game, but missed many free throws and short range shots which would have put the game away! You may not agree with a coaches philosophy but the kids must have and that is why they have won so many games. Just picked a bad night to shoot the ball so poorly.

Posted by: Fan at the game on 3/1/2013


Agree with out coached but you have to be a coach to be out coached. He has won the games he has thankfully to a very athletic group of girls.

Posted by: FAN on 3/1/2013

Easy Way Out Blame the Coach!

I didn't see anywhere in the stats the coach missing 19 shots and 9 free throws.

Posted by: GC on 3/1/2013


Will this go down as the biggest choke job in school history?

Posted by: GC on 3/1/2013

Not stunned!!

Out coached is the bottom line!!

Posted by: Fan on 3/1/2013