Garden City Broncbuster reserve Logan Miller raised up and sunk a 3-pointer from the right wing late in Saturday’s game against visiting Colby.
The Buster bench erupted in joy for the trey from the rarely-used shooter. Little did they know the shot also broke the school record for 3-pointers in a game as the Busters unleashed a barrage of 17 trifectas on the Trojans en route to a 99-53 blowout win at Conestoga Arena.
“It just felt like it was never going to stop, and it didn’t,” Colby head coach Rusty Grafel said of the Busters’ scorching shooting effort, which he said he had “never, ever” seen before as an opposing coach.
The win was a big one as it drew the Busters (18-11, 14-11) even with the Trojans (18-11, 14-11) in the conference standings, tied for fifth place.
The Busters hit 17-of-30 3-pointers, en route to making 55 percent of their shots overall (33 of 60) and scored a season-best 1.43 points per possession.
The rout began early, as the Busters went on a 19-0 run after Colby got the first bucket of the game. The seven-minute span was capped by Cruickshank’s second 3-pointer — he began the game 5 of 5 from deep, and finished with a game-high 17 points. Six Busters reached double digits.
After Colby got a lay up from Gabriel Gyamfi, Theo Holloway then made a 3-pointer, as he finished 3 of 6 from 3-point range for 11 points.
Of course, the Busters’ best 3-point shooter, Kendale Hampton, also got in the action, going 4 of 7 from behind the arc for 16 points. Even rare 3-point shooter Elvis Harvey, who had 11 all season entering the game, was a perfect 4 of 4 Saturday.
“You can definitely feel it,” Miller said of the Busters’ hot shooting. “Everything was going our way.”
By the end of the first half — which featured 10 3-pointers — the Busters’ lead was 52-20, and the outcome was no longer in doubt.
The Trojans tried a zone defense. They tried a man defense. It didn’t matter. The Buster 3-point barrage continued to pour down, and when you’re hot, you’re hot.
Cruickshank’s fifth and final 3-pointer of the game came early in the second half, when his shot hit the back iron, rebounded straight into the air several feet above the backboard, and dropped back through the hoop.
Grafel could do nothing else but shrug and shake his head in response.
“The defense carried it,” GCCC head coach Brady Trenkle said, eschewing the 3-point celebration. “Everybody can see you hitting the shots, but the defense is creating the shots, because the defense is frustrating them so much that it’s taking away from their defense.”
The Busters did hold Colby to 31.5 percent shooting, and no Trojan had double-digit points.
“It’s two games in a row we’ve done this. We were really good at Neosho (68-58 win Wednesday), too,” Trenkle said. “Tonight, we were really good, too. We’re taking teams away from what they’re good at.”
The Busters finish off the regular season with an 8 p.m. game against Seward County Monday. They have also locked up a home game to begin the Region VI tournament Thursday at Conestoga Arena. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m., with the opponent yet to be determined. That opponent will be determined late Monday night or Tuesday morning.
Note: Garden City is also one 3-pointer away from breaking the season record for most treys made.
Contact J. Levi Burnfin at firstname.lastname@example.org