The Garden City Broncbusters men’s basketball team managed to hit just 38.7 percent of their shots on Wednesday evening at Neosho County, well below its season average.
It didn’t matter, because the three bigs had big games.
Jamir Thomas and Elvis Harvey each recorded double-doubles, and 6-foot-11 Jeff Otchere was one rebound short of one himself, as the trio of trees led the Busters to a 68-58 win over the host Panthers in Jayhawk Conference play.
“Those three were good tonight,” GCCC head coach Brady Trenkle said. “They were what we were waiting to get out of them, so hopefully that will continue.”
Harvey led the offense with 13 points and 10 boards, while Thomas and Otchere each had 11 points. Thomas added 15 rebounds and Otchere had nine. Those three combined to go 13 of 23 from the field. The rest of the Busters were 11 of 39, but that did not end up mattering.
“Not with the way that Jamir, Jeff and Elvis were playing,” Trenkle said, as the Busters improved to 18-11 overall and 13-11 in the KJCCC. “I just liked to see how well we guarded.”
The Panthers (9-20, 7-17) hit just 27.7 percent (18 of 65) of their shots, and were 6 of 31 from beyond the 3-point line.
“Our guys were one step ahead of them, which was great because we broke that little funk we were in where we were right there but couldn’t get over the hump,” Trenkle said. “It was one of those wins we needed to get with the region tournament coming up."
Indeed. The Busters had lost five of their past six coming into Wednesday, and were risking dropping further into the conference standings if not for Wednesday’s win.
“I just think it’s big for our guys’ self-confidence,” Trenkle said. “We know what we’re capable of.”
The Busters led 36-27 at halftime, and never gave up the lead in the second half. Their largest lead — 14 — came with less than a minute to play.
The Busters also got 10 points from Russhard Cruickshank, nine from Kendale Hampton and eight from Pierre Johnson, as they recorded 0.97 points per possession. They held Neosho to just 0.83 points per possession.
“They (players) needed to see the good in why we’re working hard,” Trenkle said. “It’s easy to roll over and quit, but this shows these guys don’t have any quit in them.”
The Busters host the final two games of the regular season on Saturday and Monday, with a 4 p.m. tip against Colby on Saturday and an 8 p.m. Monday tipoff with Seward County. They will most likely host a first-round Region 6 tournament game on March 1.