By BRETT MARSHALL
The first goal for the Garden City Buffaloes boys basketball team at the Valley Center January Jam was to win its first-round game and get into the championship side of the bracket.
Mission accomplished Thursday with a hard-fought 62-59 victory over Junction City.
The second goal was to advance to today’s 7:15 p.m. championship game.
But that goal got sidelined when the Buffs saw a seven-point lead after three quarters dissipate, and then Garden City was outplayed soundly in overtime, falling to the Olathe Northwest Ravens, 63-52, at the Jam on Friday night.
Holloway’s team will have to wait another time for that second goal to be realized, settling to play in today’s 5:30 p.m. third-place contest against Wichita Northwest, which lost to Blue Valley Northwest in the other semifinal.
The Buffs had played one of their best quarters of the season in the third, when they owned a commanding 16-5 scoring advantage after trailing at the half, 26-22. The Buffs clung to a narrow 14-12 at the end of the first period.
“We had done a good job with our defense the first three quarters,” Holloway said of his team’s effort against the Ravens. “But we kinda lost a couple of their shooters there in the fourth quarter and that cost us.”
The biggest dagger thrown by the Ravens came from Trey Bales, who had a game-high 24 points, including three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter when the Buffs were outscored 16-9.
“Our 1-3-1, I thought, was effective for much of the game, right up until the final part of the game,” Holloway said. “In the overtime, we tried to run some things and didn’t screen well. Olathe Northwest did a good job defensively, and we didn’t get a lot of good looks.”
In the overtime, the Buffs simply got overwhelmed as the Ravens scored the first 10 points, to race out to a 57-47 lead before Garden could get on the board with a 3-pointer from Hunter Delgado with just over a minute left in the extra period.
In recent games, the Buffs had gotten key scoring from a number of different players, but in the semifinal test, that balance was not found.
Bo Banner, who scored 20 points to lead the Buffs, got 15 of those in the first half, including nine in the first quarter. Delgado was the only other double-figure scorer with 14 and Austin Terpstra finished with nine, as those three combined for 43 of the team’s 52 points.
“It was tough because some of our guys were put in different positions and Northwest did a good job of getting us out of our rhythm,” Holloway said. “They did more switching and we didn’t do a good job of adjusting.”
And after playing solid defense for three quarters, Holloway was disappointed with the fourth period.
Bales got scoring help from Easton Koch with 13 and Taylor Davis with 10 as the Ravens improved to 5-5. The Buffs fall to 8-4 overall.
In other Friday action, Blue Valley Northwest rolled past Wichita Northwest 66-37 in the other semifinal.
Consolation games saw Kansas City Turner drop Valley Center 47-39 and Topeka Seaman knock off Junction City 63-53.
The seventh-place game between Valley Center and Junction City will be at 2 p.m. The Turner-Seaman fifth-place game is slated for 3:45 p.m. The Blue Valley Northwest-Olathe Northwest title matchup will tipoff at 7:15 p.m.
Olathe Northwest 12 14 5 16 16 — 63
Garden City 14 8 16 9 5 — 52
Olathe Northwest (63) — Piester 1 0-0 3, Koch 3 5-6 13, Bales 6 9-10 24, Anctil 2 2-4 6, Davis 4 1-2 10, Funk 2 0-0 4, Selby 1 1-2 3. Totals 19 18-24 63.
Garden City (52) — Delgado 4 6-8 14, Banner 8 2-2 20, Keller 0 1-2 1, Terpstra 2 4-4 9, Parr 2 1-3 5, Tramp 1 1-1 3. Totals 17 15-20 52.
3-point goals — Olathe Northwest 7 (Bales 3, Koch 2, Piester 1, Davis 1), Garden City 6 (Delgado 3, Banner 2, Terpstra 1). Team Fouls — Olathe Northwest 15, Garden City 19. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — Garden City (Delgado).