Two scoring droughts and early foul trouble for the Garden City Broncbusters ultimately spelled their doom in a 65-57 loss to Coffeyville Tuesday night.
The Busters went 11 minutes of game time — through parts of both halves — with just one field goal and a free throw, and then nearly the final five minutes of game time without a single point as the top-seeded Red Ravens sealed the win in the Region VI semifinal at Hartman Arena in Park City.
“They had their scorers on the floor and I had my scorers in foul trouble,” GCCC head coach Brady Trenkle said of the drought to end the first half, when posts Jamir Thomas, Jeff Otchere and Elvis Harvey were all on the bench with two fouls, as well as point guard Pierre Johnson. “Russhard (Cruickshank) was out there, Theo (Holloway) was out there and they picked up the pressure when they saw who was out there.”
Holloway, 6-foot-5, was the tallest Buster on the floor for a while as the Busters went to a five-guard lineup for spots, when reserve post LaColby Tucker also picked up a pair of fouls, and a technical.
“With the foul trouble, it was tough,” Trenkle said.
And Trenkle thought his fifth-seeded Busters' offense ran out of gas late, after rallying from a double-digit deficit to take brief one-point leads late, before a pair of Coffeyville 3-pointers.
The loss ends the Busters’ season at 22-11, while the Ravens advanced to Wednesday’s region final against second-seeded Hutchinson, a 74-69 winner over No. 3 Barton earlier Tuesday night.
Besides foul trouble, the Busters also suffered through their worst shooting performance of the entire season, going 18 of 57 from the field (31.6 percent), including 8 of 30 from deep (26.7 percent). To make things even more difficult on the offense, they were unable to match Coffeyville’s rebounding, where the Ravens had a dominating 50-33 advantage, and a steep 19-10 edge on the offensive glass.
“We started the game and gave up four offensive rebounds first possession,” Trenkle said. “That set the tone. They were taking outside jumpers, and we were crashing the paint and they were getting the long rebounds, and they just killed us on the glass.”
Also switching to a zone defense for parts of the second half may have hurt the rebounding effort for the Busters, as well as some potentially selective officiating.
“I thought we did a really good job on the majority of possessions,” Trenkle said. “I’ll be honest, there were a lot more physical blockouts allowed on one end than they were allowing on the other end.”
A Coffeyville possession late in the game included four more offensive rebounds, and led to a Joshua Hill layup to push Coffeyville’s lead to six, during the Ravens’ game-sealing late run.
Their first big run of the game negated the Busters’ hot start, sparked by Hampton, the hero of Sunday's win over Cowley in the quarterfinals.
Hampton picked up Tuesday’s game right where he left off, hitting 3-pointers. He sunk three in the opening three minutes as the Busters roared out to an 11-0 lead.
The quick start allowed the Busters to take a 20-11 lead on Johnson’s free throws midway through the first half, but then the offense completely stalled. Hampton’s baseline jumper was the only field goal for the Busters in the final 10 minutes of the first half — as they began to deal with foul trouble — while Coffeyville inched into the lead, taking a 29-23 advantage into intermission on an 18-3 run.
The second half began in Coffeyville’s favor, as well, as the Red Ravens quickly pushed their advantage to 35-23 on Marvin Johnson’s layup, a Cedric Roland jumper and a Hill layup.
Finally, Johnson went on a run of four consecutive scores for the Busters — three layups and two free throws — to break the scoring skid for Garden City, and cut the deficit to six.
Then Hampton hit one of his five 3-pointers — he finished with a game-high 24 points — for the game to make it 37-34. The teams exchanged buckets for the next five minutes, before Holloway hit his only 3-pointer of the game to give the Busters a short-lived 45-44 lead. TJ Washington answered with a 3 of his own on the ensuing Coffeyville possession, before Hampton tied it with a drive and bucket.
Otchere gave the Busters a 51-50 lead later, before Washington — who finished with 17 points — hit another go-ahead trey for Coffeyville, which sparked the final, game-winning 12-0 run.
“I think that was the dagger on us,” Trenkle said. “Washington hits a deep, deep 3. He’s a player.”
Russhard Cruickshank scored a fadeaway 3-pointer with 24 seconds left that ended the Coffeyville run and got the Busters to within 62-54 late, and then Hampton hit his fifth and final 3 with 20 seconds left to cut the deficit to seven. But Coffeyville’s Casey Benton hit 3-of-4 free throws in between, and when Holloway’s 3 with 10 seconds left was off, the Busters elected not to foul again, ending the game and their season.
Note: 21 wins is the second-most wins for GCCC in a season since 2009, and third-most since 2005. Trenkle’s Buster squad won 22 in 2014, his first year at the helm.