The Garden City Community College men’s basketball team is in the Region VI tournament semifinal for the first time in nine years.
The fifth-seeded Broncbusters will face top-seed Coffeyville at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Hartman Arena in Park City.
But the Busters are not dwelling on the accomplishment.
“If we win (the semifinal game), I’m going to relish it,” GCCC head coach Brady Trenkle said wryly, after his Broncbusters downed Cowley, 74-73, on a buzzer-beater in the quarterfinal. “Every year you go out, you’re trying to be Region VI champs. The thing we’ve proved now is we’re a top-four team … You’re happy with what you got, but you’re not content. We’re here to win this (tournament).”
To do that, Trenkle and his guard, Kendale Hampton, who made the game-winner against Cowley Sunday, agree: to beat Coffeyville, the Busters will have to buckle down on defense.
“The one thing with Coffeyville is you better keep them out of transition,” Trenkle said.
The Busters struggled to do so the last time they played the Red Ravens, who hit 44.6 percent of their shots and built a 19-point lead early in the second half of a 74-65 win in Garden City on Feb. 17 to split the season series. Garden City won in Coffeyville, 78-69, on Jan. 3, when the Ravens managed to hit just 32.8 percent of their shots.
“Defense is the key,” Hampton said. “Our offense is going to come.”
The Ravens are scoring 78.7 points per game and 1.04 points per possession, led by a quintet of scorers who are averaging 13.8 to 9.7 points per game. That’s something the Busters and Ravens have in common: multiple offensive options.
The Busters — 75.1 points per game and 1.06 points per possession — have four scorers averaging between 13.4 points and 12.0 points per game.
“I think the best teams out there are the ones who have balance,” Trenkle said. “Sometimes the teams with one 20-point scorer struggle when you get to the end of the game.”
Coffeyville proved to be the best team in the KJCCC this season, winning the conference championship at 22-4.
“If you want to be the best, you go out and beat the best,” Trenkle said of the challenge. “It’s going to be a dogfight. It’s going to be fun.”
The winner advances to Wednesday’s 7 p.m. title game against the winner of No. 3 Barton and No. 2 Hutchinson, which square off at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the other semifinal.