GCCC men’s basketball at Barton County

GREAT BEND - There's something about Garden City Community College that brings out the best in Barton County. And for the second time this season, the Cougars shot lights out against the Broncbusters.

Jaheim Holden scored 11 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, Desean Munson had 16 points and three blocks, and Barton cruised to a 101-80 victory over Garden City Saturday night at the Kirkman Center.

"This year hasn't gone the way we expected," Broncbusters Head Coach Patrick Nee said. "But I give our staff and our kids credit for sticking together."

The Cougars couldn't miss, shooting 63 percent from the floor while knocking down eight-of-14 threes. It was the second time this season that Barton shot 60 percent or better vs. Garden City.

"They have shot the ball so well against us," Nee said. "Some of it was us not defending at a high level. But some of it was them making shots."

The game was competitive early on with Tahlik Chavez burying three threes in the first seven minutes to give Garden City a 21-20 edge. But the Cougars caught fire. Anthony Enneking got inside for a jam, Munson converted a second-chance basket, and Barton was off and running-scoring nine straight points to open up an eight-point lead. Then Divonte Caldwell buried a long ball, and Martin Vogts knocked down a midrange jumper. Sprinkle in Holden's step-back trey, and Barton was up 48-31 with 3:27 remaining in the half.

"I thought we did a better of job of being patient on offense," Nee said. "When they go on runs like that, you can't try and get it back all in one possession. I think in the first meeting, we didn't do a good job of countering that."

This time, Garden City stayed with it. Kyler Lamb drilled a line-drive three from the top of the key, Michael Frazier splashed a bomb from 25-feet, and Chavez spun baseline for a two-handed layup, capping a 10-0 run that brought the Broncbusters back to within six, 50-44 with 1:08 to go. They closed the half on a 12-4 surge and were down eight at the intermission.

"This is a horrible matchup for us," Nee said. "Their bigs are the size of guards. They're very quick and athletic. They always have three or four guys on the floor at the same time that can shoot the 3."

The Broncbusters had their chances early in the second half. Derrick Bryant canned a triple, and Mason Osborne cut backdoor for a layup, slicing the Cougars once 17-point lead down to three, 56-53 with 18:28 to play in the game. But that's as close as Garden City got the rest of the way. Barton responded with a 14-3 run that was punctuated with Munson's two-handed power slam, putting the Cougars in front 70-58. Munson added two more buckets; coupled with another Holden 3, and the Cougars were up 18, 87-69. They built that to as many as 22 in the final two minutes.

"It's like pick your poison," Nee explained. "You can't play a lot of zone against them because they shoot the ball so well. And then we have to figure out who does a guy like Michael Frazier guard? How do we play him in a game like this?"

Frazier was money on the offensive end, scoring 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting while drilling a season-best four 3's. But defensively, he was a liability as the Cougars outscored the Broncbusters 40-30 in the paint. Chavez finished with 16, but scored just two points on 1-of-7 shooting in the second half. Traylynn Spencer added 16 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Caldwell tallied 13 for Barton, who snapped a two-game skid. Enneking had 11 points, six boards, three assists and three steals.

Garden City 46-34 - 80

Barton Co. 54-47 - 101

The loss means the Broncbusters are the No. 14 seed and will open up the Region VI tournament at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Butler. Meantime the Cougars earned the No. 4 seed and will host Cloud County.