Garden City men earn first victory
Cole Dewey had no such plans of trying to win Saturday's game twice. But more often than not, things have a way of just happening. They also have a way of working themselves out. Such was the case in the Broncbusters home opener.
Mohamed Diarra notched his first career double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds, Denver Jones chipped in 18 in 37 minutes, and Garden City held off Clarendon 86-81 at Conestoga Arena.
"Our guys came out ready to play," Dewey said afterwards. "But that's a really talented team over there, so I wasn't surprised when they made their run."
After Wednesday night's double-digit loss, the Broncbusters first-year head man implored his team to bring the energy. And in the first 20 minutes, they did just that. Jasman Sangha, who posted his second straight double-double with 16 points and 11 boards, hit a slick right-handed layup, Mason Osborne canned a corner 3 and blew by his defender for a deuce, and Diarra easily maneuvered to the rim putting Garden City up 17-9 six minutes into the contest.
"We got a lot of easy shots in the first half," Dewey explained.
They eventually stretched that lead out to 10 after Jones rattled home a pair of free throws. Jaduhkiss Soto hit a layup, Diarra dropped in two charity shots, and Jones connected from the midrange, giving the home team their largest advantage of the game, 41-25 with 1:47 remaining in the half. They were up 13 at the break.
"I was disappointed we were only up 13 at half," Dewey said. "I felt like we could have put the game away. We missed our chance in the first half."
And Clarendon made them pay early in the final period.
The Bulldogs blitzed the Broncbusters with a full-court press, forcing 12 second-half turnovers. The change in philosophy also flipped the game as Clarendon used a 17-5 run, capped by BJ Simmons' run-out dunk that sliced Garden City's lead to one, 48-47.
"That team has some really good pieces," Dewey said demonstratively. "They figured some stuff out in the second half."
Hence the reason his team had to win the game twice. And after Simmons hit a runner in the paint, the Bulldogs had their first lead of the afternoon, 65-64 with 5:46 to play.
"That's a team that plays in one of the best leagues in the country, and they're going to make a lot of noise this year," Dewey added.
Garden City wasn't down for long once Sangha got free for a layup. Diarra followed with an easy two, Sangha hit a baby hook in the paint, and Soto stepped in front of a lazy Clarendon bounce pass at the top of the key before gliding all the way to the rim to put the Broncbusters up eight.
"Once the game got tight, we found a way to win," Dewey said. "And that's all that matters."
And they did it despite Simmons going off for 30 points in 35 minutes for Clarendon. The Broncbusters won the rebounding battle 47-33 and dished out 18 assists on 29 made baskets. Their bench also outscored the Bulldogs' reserves 36-12.
"We just have to do a better job of getting in shape," Dewey said. "I think that's a big part of our team right now. That's my fault; that's the guys fault, and that's COVID's fault. But we have to figure it out."
Rodney Lewis, playing in his first game, tallied 14 points in 31 minutes off the bench, and Soto added eight points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Claredon 30; 51; - 81
Garden City 43; 43; - 86
The Broncbusters will host Coffyville at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.