Another fight to the finish
By KEVIN THOMPSON
The Garden City Buffaloes made a clean sweep at the Clarion Inn Southwest Classic on Saturday night with a 59-52 win over Dumas, Texas at the New Garden.
That's a 7-point win over a team that had lost by 40 and 49 points the previous two nights.
It was also the third straight night where Garden City had to scrap and fight to hold on to a lead.
The Buffaloes held a 31-26 halftime advantage, but they lost that quickly in the third period when the Demons broke through Garden City's defense four straight times to open the quarter.
Nathan Thomas and Trace Sheldon converted two easy inside looks, and Sheldon took two more in on fast breaks to get the Demons a 34-33 lead less than three minutes in. They added three more on Denton Bilbrey's three, one of seven Dumas in the game.
Tristan Nanninga hit a two and a three on consecutive possessions to briefly regain the lead, but Dylan Hatley buried a three for a 40-38 lead.
Austin Terpstra hit a jumper and Bo Banner added a three to give the Buffaloes a 43-40 lead heading to the fourth.
In the final quarter, Dumas took the lead at 50-49 on a free throw with 2:35 left. Then Terpstra turned into Atlas and carried the Buffaloes to the win.
The senior post player scored seven straight points. On his team's next four possessions, he snaked a layup, then hit a turnaround jumper, then he buried 3-of-4 free throws.
All the Demons could manage was a pair of free throws and Garden City was up 56-52. Free throws by Banner and Caleb Tramp finished the deal.
For Terpstra, it was the second straight game of late heroics. Friday he hit the game-winner with 22 seconds left in regulation.
His game-high 17 points gave him 52 for the tournament. He scored in every quarter Saturday, which was big because Nanninga was shut out by the Demon defense in both the second and fourth periods.
It took someone stepping up like that to give coach Jacy Holloway's team a win despite the lackluster play, especially at the start of the second half.
"I wasn't very happy with them," he said. "But I wanted them to play through it. They've got to learn to play through that."
The Dumas team that showed up Saturday was more of the team he thought would play that way all three games, Holloway said. After having faced a tough Wichita Trinity team on Thursday and athletic Denver South on Friday, the Buffaloes might have been expecting an easy matchup on Saturday.
Dumas shot often in the opening period (15 times), seven of those from behind the arc. Their aggressive play resulted in nine fouls and sent the Buffaloes to the line nine times in that that stretch.
Generally, it was an active team that seemed to take the Garden City players by surprise.
"We told them it was going to be that way in the locker room, but try to explain that to 16-, 17-and 18-year-old kids and sometimes they don't listen," he said. "Hopefully, we can figure that out next time and be a little more prepared mentally."
The Buffaloes (4-1) will have plenty of time to get things straightened out as they are off until Dec. 18, when they host Dodge City in their Western Athletic Conference opener and final pre-holiday game.
Dumas 16 10 14 12 -- 52
Garden City 21 10 12 16 -- 59
Dumas (52) — Gillespie 2 0-0 6, Gerber 1 8-11 10, Thomas 5 0- 12, Valenzuela 0 2-2 2, Sheldon 3 1-4 7, Bilbrey 2 4-5 9, Hatley 2 0-1 6. Totals 15-45 15-23 52.
Garden City (59) — Delgado 2 4-5 9, Riggs 0 1-2 1, Nanninga 5 3-5 14, Banner 2 3-4 8, Keller 1 2-3 4, Terpstra 6 5-6 17, Love 0 2-2 2, Tramp 1 2-2 4. Totals 17-39, 22-29 59.