HUGOTON — It was really that lopsided.
Hugoton boys 69, Garden City 35.
There was a running clock in the fourth quarter at the 5:45 mark, when the Eagles boys went up 62-31.
It was 19-6 after one quarter, 38-19 at the half and 53-28 after three quarters.
The Eagles, who entered the game at 6-8 but with six losses by three points or less, were dominant from start to finish.
The Buffs, who came in on the heels of a mini, three-game winning streak, might just as well stayed on the bus after the 66-mile trip to Stevens County.
While Hugoton coach C.J. Korf was smiling broadly about his team’s performance, Garden mentor Jacy Holloway was displeased with what he saw from his depleted roster, which was missing reserve Jarell Coleman with a leg injury for the second straight game.
“We had some issues early, but we’re a young team and we’ve been getting better,” an obviously pleased Korf said afterward. “We’ve only got two kids who played much at all last year, but the last couple of weeks, we’ve been playing much better.”
Was he surprised at the blowout? Perhaps.
“I don’t think I’d have guessed we would win by this much,” Korf said. “Garden’s got a good program, and we’ve not done much against the WAC schools. But our kids have been playing hard, and learning how to play together, so this is an indication of the hard work they’ve put in.”
Conversely, Holloway was at the opposite end of the coaching spectrum.
“This has been a group that has demonstrated very limited leadership,” Holloway said after watching his team go 12-of-49 shooting from the field, including a stunningly frigid 3 of 21 from behind the 3-point line. “Sometimes, no matter what we tell them about teams, they just don’t believe the scouting reports.”
Holloway was quick to credit Hugoton for playing hard, shooting the ball well, and dominating the rebounding by more than a 2-1 ratio (46-21).
“Their kids were well-prepared, and ours obviously were not,” Holloway said. “They shot the ball well (28 of 54, 52 percent), but a lot of their shots were wide open, and they had so many easy, uncontested layups.”
Holloway said that he and his staff had told the team that Hugoton was much better than their 6-8 record.
“That’s our job to get them to believe what we’re teaching them,” Holloway said. “But sometimes you’ve got a lot of outside entities that limit the belief the kids have in us as a staff.”
It was the third major blowout of the season for the Buffs, in what has become a true roller-coaster ride.
“This was not because of who we played, but because of how we played,” Holloway said. “A couple of times we had a couple of kids who played hard, but at times we didn’t play hard enough to get tired. The preparation for this game was bad.”
Eleven different Hugoton players registered into the scorebook, with Damian Lewis (3 of 6 from deep) and Jace Gilmore (5-of-9 shooting) sharing high honors with 13 points each.
No Buffs’ player scored in double figures, with Carlos Acosta topping the scoring with nine points, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range.
With the rebounding battle looking every bit as shredded as the score, Hugoton’s Carlos Montiel was a dominating force on the boards with 13. Kyler Lamb pulled down four for the Buffs.
Garden committed just 11 turnovers, but the Eagles only suffered seven miscues.
The Buffs will have a couple of days to regroup before returning to the WAC schedule when they host Great Bend at 7:45 p.m. Friday at The Garden. They are 3-1 in the league, trailing Hays by a game.
Hugoton hits the road to Colby in a Great West Activities Conference battle.