Somewhere between Jamir Thomas’ slam off a lob from Jaleel Simmons and Tony Hopkins' one-handed slam about 30 minutes of game time later, it became pretty clear:
The 2018-19 version of the Garden City Community College Broncbusters can fly.
They had 11 dunks in Monday’s 99-51 whitewashing of On Point (Texas) Academy, and four in Friday’s season-opening 98-78 win over Redlands (Okla.).
But there was also some clarity on the bigger picture. Last year was no fluke.
The 2017-18 Busters reached the region semifinals for the first time since 2009 a year ago, going 21-12 overall, with all but four of those games against region opponents.
But former head coach Brady Trenkle moved on, and assistant Patrick Nee took the helm. With as much turnover as there is in junior college basketball on a year-to-year basis, any extra upheaval can set a program back multiple steps.
Instead, Nee, and returners Thomas and Russhard Cruickshank, appear to have kept the Busters on course.
On Friday, the Busters did not play well for a half, but turned it on in the second half and crushed Redlands. On Monday, there was no waiting around. The Busters just decimated On Point Academy from the tip.
In both games, the Busters displayed a team athleticism that will be hard to rival in the conference.
Just look at the dunks. While a handful came on breakaways without a defender in sight, several others came over defenders at the rim — the Buster attacker just elevated above them.
That’s a mix of size and athleticism that can’t be stopped, meaning the Buster offense should not have very many down days. And it’s athleticism that not only will put defenders on their butt, but butts in the seats at Conestoga Arena.
They have scored 98 and 99 points, respectively, in their two games so far, and at the pace they play, those won’t be the peaks of the season.
They’re not relying on 3-pointers — shoot, they’re only hitting 26.2 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, and yet are still hitting 56.7 percent of their overall shots. A bulk of those are coming at the rim.
And when the 3-point shots start falling just a bit more, the offense will be deadly. The only question will be if the defense can elevate itself to meet the offense’s level. If so, reaching the region semifinals will be the expectation, not the highlight, of the season.