Jamir Thomas was back to dominating the boards. Kendale Hampton hit his 3-pointers. Jeff Otchere was the giant rim protector that affected every shot in the paint. And Pierre Johnson was back to driving the offense with precision, getting others in the right spot to take advantage of their offensive skills.
And while the Garden City Community College Broncbusters’ defense was not spectacular for much of the game, the Busters held visiting Cloud County without a field goal for the final five minutes of play as they sealed a 73-65 win at the Conestoga Arena on Saturday afternoon.
“They (Buster players) stuck to our game plan for 40 minutes,” GCCC head coach Brady Trenkle said. “They did what we asked. They still made mistakes, but they continued to play hard and they continued to rebound.”
The Busters (16-9, 12-9) twice built double-digit leads, only to blow one and nearly give away the second one, allowing the T-Birds (6-18, 4-17) to go on a 10-2 run to begin the final 10 minutes of the game. But Octavius Meadows, who was a spark off the bench for the Busters, hit a jump shot, and then Johnson sliced through the lane for a layup on the next possession, pushing the lead back to seven.
Cloud again got the deficit down to three with 4:19 to play, but Johnson again made a play for a layup. And when the game was down to one possession once again with under a minute to play, Johnson drove the lane, and this time kicked out to Thomas for a 16-footer, which he sunk, sealing the win as Cloud County scored just two points in the final five minutes of the game.
“We were playing a little smaller (with Otchere fouled out of the game),” Trenkle said. “But I thought Octavius Meadows was huge.”
Meadows had 11 points off the bench, while Hampton and Thomas tied for a game-high 19 points. Hampton was 3 of 6 from deep, and Thomas had 15 rebounds for a double-double, his first since Jan. 27. Johnson had 10 points and three assists, while Otchere had 10 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, likely giving him the NJCAA lead in blocks for the season.
Cloud County — helmed by former Buster assistant Jordan Altman — was led by Breyon Jackson’s 16 points.
Contact J. Levi Burnfin at firstname.lastname@example.org.