The 300-plus mile trip to the Mile High City of Denver provided the Garden City Lady Buffaloes with an early Christmas present as coach David Upton’s squad cruised to a 65-22 victory over a youthful Denver South Lady Rebels squad.

For the Buffs’ boys team, it was deja vu, as they saw a small late third-quarter lead disappear into a fourth-quarter downfall, which resulted in a 64-50 loss to the Rebels, a team that was runner-up in the 2014 Class 4A Colorado State tournament.

It was the third consecutive win for the Lady Buffs and allowed them to go into the break with a 4-3 record. Conversely, it was the third straight setback for coach Jacy Holloway’s squad, leaving them struggling for answers heading into the break with a 3-4 mark.

Girls

From the get-go, the Garden City girls were off and running and never looked back.

The Lady Buffs scored the opening six points of the game before South got a bucket with five minutes to go in the first quarter.

“They were very youthful and inexperienced," Upton said of South's girls, whose roster consisted of six freshman, five sophomores and one junior with no seniors on the team. "I thought we played pretty well, and we were able to work on things that we needed to."

From that point forward, the Lady Rebels went nearly 11 minutes without a field goal, getting only two free throws while the Lady Buffs were going on a 26-4 run.

After a 23-2 first quarter lead, the Lady Buffs went into halftime up 36-6. It was 51-14 after the third period.

“I thought we executed our offense fairly well, better than we usually do," Upton said. "We were able to look into the post better, and I thought we shot the ball pretty good, too."

Upton was able to substitute liberally and saw seven different players get into the scoring column. In addition to the three double-digit scorers, Breece Dreiling and Alexis Elliott added 9 points each.

The Lady Buffs shot 45 percent from the field (26 of 58) and outrebounded the Lady Rebels 39-24.

Three players reached double figures as Jessica Carrillo led the way with 12 points followed by Abbie Dart and Bri Elliott with 11 each. Breece Dreiling and Alexis were closed behind with 9 apiece.

With the pre-semester schedule now complete, the Lady Buffs will get 18 days to prepare for their Western Athletic Conference opener on Jan. 6 when they host rival Dodge City at The Garden.

"We've got some momentum now, and that will be big as we've got the big game (with Dodge) looming on the horizon when we come back," Upton said.

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Garden City 65, Denver South 22

Garden City&23&13&15&14&—&65

Denver So.&2&4&8&8&—&22

Garden City (4-3) — Dart 4 0-0 11, Flowers 3 0-0 6, Longoria 1 0-0 2, Munoz 2 0-0 5, B. Elliott 5 1-01 11, Dreiling 3 3-4 9, Carrillo 5 2-3 12, A. Elliott 3 3-3 9. Totals 26 9-11 65.

Denver South (2-7) — B. Roberts 0 2-6 2, Krieg 2 2-2 7, Ray 0 2-4 2, C. Roberts 3 2-2 9, Cardinal 1 0-0 2, Box 0 0-2 0. Totals 6 8-16 22.

3-point goals—Garden City 4 (Dart 3, Munoz 1), South 2 (Krieg 1, C. Roberts 1). Fouls—Garden 8, South 9. Fouled out—none. 

Boys

For the second straight game, the Buffs held a lead late in the third quarter only to see it slip away with a fourth quarter meltdown.

Defensively, after holding South to 27 first-half points, the Buffs gave up 22 in the final eight minutes to end up in a double-digit setback.

That came after a late 39-37 Garden lead in the third quarter that eventually turned into a 42-39 deficit heading to the fourth. 

"We're struggling with our defensive rotations, and it's not just one or two, it's all of our guys," Holloway said. "Our main guys have gotta help the help."

It didn't help that three of the Buffs' starters — Caleb Tramp (7), Akil Love (4) and Miguel Olivas (0) — combined for 11 points. Jared Koster led the way with 16 points while Luis Rodriguez added 8.

"It's not just any one thing," Holloway said of the Buffs' three-game slide. "We're not zoning in on anything out there. We've got to take the blinders off and just play basketball. Every set we run we have multiple options. Right now, if the first option doesn't work, we just fall apart. We've got to understand what the defense is giving us."

The Buffs trailed 10-9 after one quarter only to bounce back for a 28-27 halftime advantage thanks to a strong 19-point second quarter. 

Charles Gavin led all scores for South with 17 points and Devante Loggins added 10 for the Rebels.

Both teams struggled at the free throw line, the Buffs making only 9 of 20, but the Rebels were even worse, making just 13 of 30 charities.

The Buffs are idle until Jan. 6 when they start Western Athletic Conference action by hosting rival Dodge City at The Garden.

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Boys

Denver South 64, Garden City 50

Garden City&9&19&11&11&—&50

Denver So.&10&17&15&22&—&64

Garden City (3-4) — Tramp 3 1-2 7, Olivas 0 0-0 0, Koster 5 5-8 16, Reyes 2 2-2 6, Leal 1 1-3 4, Rodriguez 4 0-3 8, Love 2 0-2 4, Acosta 2 0-0 5, Rincones 0 0-0 0, Aguilar 0 0-0 0, Harp 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 9-20 50.

Denver South (4-5) — Loggins 2 6-11 10, Nelson 1 1-2 3, Bile 3 2-7 8, Wariner 3 0-0 8, Peterson 3 1-2 9, Dean 1 2-4 4, Kennedy 0 0-2 0, Cargue 1 0-0 3, Roberts 1 0-0 2, Gavin 8 1-2 17. Totals 23 13-30 64.

3-point goals—Garden City 3 (Koster 1, Leal 1, Acosta 1), South 5 (Wariner 2, Peterson 2, Cargue 1).