Down a key player, the Garden City High School boys basketball team could not make it to the winter break with a spotless record, falling at Junction City, 54-39, on Friday evening.

Kyler Lamb — and his 9.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game — was out due to surgery on Friday on a broken nose he suffered last week, and the Buffaloes were unable to compensate, trailing the host Bluejays the entire game. The loss drops the Buffs to 5-1 overall as they’ll have a week off prior to returning to practice to prepare for the second semester.

“Obviously disappointed we didn’t have a chance to be 6-0, but can’t be disappointed with the effort and executing the game plan (tonight),” GCHS head coach Jacy Holloway said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well — a little bit their press and a little bit getting tired. It was a combination of things.”

The Buffs shot just 36.6 percent from the field, and were 2 of 13 from deep. But against that constant press, the Buffs turned it over just 17 times — a solid number considering Junction City’s aggression and Lamb, one of their primary ball-handlers, being out.

“He does so much for us against the press, being able to shoot it and get us out of trouble,” Holloway said. “A lot of guys had to play a lot of minutes tonight, and they got worn out.”

Carlos Acosta played all 32 minutes for the Buffs, scoring 11 points. Jarrod Springston played 30 minutes and had 14 points to lead Garden City.

But Junction City’s AJ Dickerson scored 16 points and Kody Westerhaus had 12 to pace the Bluejays to the win and a 4-1 record.

The Buffs got within 33-26 near the end of the third quarter on Springston’s jumper, but the Bluejays went on a 10-3 run from there — thanks to a couple of Garden City turnovers — to seal the win.

After the break, the Buffs open 2019 and WAC play on Jan. 4 at Great Bend.