The Garden City Community College Broncbusters men’s basketball team sure knows how to pull off an upset, routing No. 19-ranked Barton Cougars, 90-77, Sunday afternoon at Conestoga Arena.
The win caps the regular for the Busters, who finish 13-17 overall and 8-13 in the KJCCC West. They now enter the Region VI postseason tournament as the No. 9 seed, and will hit the road for an 8 p.m. game at eight-seed Independence Wednesday. Barton dropped to 23-7 overall and 14-7 in the KJCCC West, and also missed out on a chance to take second in the division outright. After losing a tiebreaker to Hutchinson, the Cougars enter regionals as the fifth seed and host at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the first-round game.
Sunday’s game was a postponement from Saturday due to weather.
Sophomore Jamir Thomas had a monster game, finishing with a double-double. Thomas had 23 points, two points off the game-high, and 11 rebounds.
It was the same type of performance the Busters had vs. Hutchinson just weeks ago in another upset win over the Blue Dragons.
Thomas was not the only Buster to finish in double figures, as sophomore Cheikh Kebe, sophomore Russhard Cruickshank, and sophomore RJ Pari all finished in double figures with 13, 12, and 12, respectively. Freshman Tony Hopkins came off the bench with 10 points himself.
The win was revenge for the defeat from earlier this season, and also snapped a two-game losing streak in the process, ending the regular season with a win.
The Cougars started the game with a quick three-pointer, but that would be Barton’s only lead of the game.
After the Cougar bucket, Thomas scored the first Garden City points of the game, which started a 8-0 Garden City run, before Barton called a time-out to gather themselves. Garden City had an explosion of threes to open the game, hitting four in the first 6 minutes.
Kebe had a huge first five minutes, scoring all of his nine first-half points, helping the Busters take the early lead.
After a pair of back-to-back three-pointer from Pair, Garden City took the biggest lead of the first half, which ballooned to 14 points.
At the 10-minute mark, a couple of missed layups allowed the Cougars to get back in the game with a 6-0 run cutting the Garden City lead to six.
Eventually, that 14-point Buster lead was whittled down by the Cougars to two points, and then eventually tied with 1:47 left in the first half, at 32-32. A Cruickshank last second three-pointer was no good, and the Buster and Cougars went tied into the break at 32.
Just like he did in the first half, Kebe had a big first five minutes of the second half with two free throws to give the Busters the lead back to start the second half.
Then immediately on the defensive end, Kebe blocked a shot, with which Barton coach Craig Fletchall strongly disagreed, thinking it was a goal-tended shot. He was given a technical foul. Crunshshank hit two more free throws, bringing the Garden City lead up to four to start the second half.
During the first half’s media timeout, Barton was down 12, before rallying to draw even — that was the exact same situation in the second half, as the Cougars were down 12 at the 10-minute mark. This half was different as the Busters never let the Cougars back into the game
An empathic breakaway drunk by Thomas gave Garden City its biggest lead of the game at 17.
The game’s exclamation point came when freshman Jakobi Pearson found freshman Traylynn Spencer running wide open from the side and hit him perfectly with an alley-oop that was emphatically tomahawk slammed in, bringing the crown to its feet.