A single point would have made the difference in regulation — five in overtime.
But the Garden City Busters men’s basketball team went 3 of 17 from the free-throw line in the second half and overtime of Saturday’s 85-81 loss to Cowley in Arkansas City.
“We couldn’t hit a free throw,” head coach Brady Trenkle said. “We played hard enough and did a lot of things right to win, but we didn’t hit free throws.”
The Busters shot better from both the field (26 of 46, 50.8 percent) and the 3-point line (7 of 19, 36.8 percent) than they did from the charity stripe (8 of 26, 30.8 percent), resulting in the Busters dropping their second straight game. They’re now 5-2 overall and 1-2 in the KJCCC.
Cowley improves to 6-1 overall and 3-0, one of three teams in the conference to remain undefeated in KJCCC play — and the Busters have played two of them (Barton).
“That’s the positive walking out of there,” Trenkle said. “We’re playing hard, so we’ll figure it out. Free throws are just practice, so we’ll just go in the game and figure it out.”
The Busters were led by Kendale Hampton’s 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and Russhard Cruickshank’s 13 on 4 of 9.
Cowley’s Darnell Cowart had a game-high 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting, chipping in 10 rebounds for a double-double. The Tigers shot just 40.3 percent from the field and 30.0 percent from deep, but went 29 of 38 from the free-throw line (76.3 percent) to keep pace with the Busters.
“We had our chances to win, but we didn’t,” Trenkle said. “They out-rebounded us and we had a couple more turnovers, but we had the lead. If we hit two more free throws, we win, but we just continued to miss them.”
Jamir Thomas and Octavius Meadows also each had 10 points for the Busters, who return home for an 8 p.m. game Tuesday against Allen County.