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Buffaloes split with Hays Friday at home

GCHS Athletics
Garden City High School's Kitsely Franco, left, breaks to the basket for a shot off a screen by Aileen Becerril Friday against Hays at GCHS.

Girls win 39-33

If there was something in game-planning for the Garden City Buffaloes’ girls basketball team for their Friday night Western Athletic Conference home game against Hays, head coach Matt Pfeifer knew that he would have to make changes from their January victory against the Indians in Hays.

The principal reason was Pfeiffer and the Buffs were without sophomore starting point guard Amaya Gallegos, and reserve Kristen Roth, out with an injury and health issues.

Somehow, the Buffs with some of the seniors stepping up, managed to do enough to post a 39-33 victory at The Garden on Senior Night and Winter Homecoming festivities.

“It took some mental toughness and resiliency to win tonight,” Pfeifer said afterward. “We were far from perfect, but made plays when it counted.”

Gallegos, one of the team’s leading scorers and the player who jump starts the Buffs’ offense as well as being a tenacious defender, went down with an injury in the second quarter of last Wednesday’s loss at Dodge City. Her return is uncertain as the Buffs, now 11-4 overall and 5-2 in the WAC, complete their abbreviated regular season next Tuesday at Liberal.

“Keyhana (senior Turner) was awesome, handled the ball well and made some big plays throughout the game,” Pfeifer said of his 5-11 senior who finished with 11 points, including a 5-of-6 night at the free throw line.

The first half saw both teams struggle with their shooting and with turnovers, and at the end of each stanza, the Indians held 1-point leads of 10-9 and 20-19.

Hays  10; 10; 6; 7; - 33

Garden City  9; 10; 10; 10; - 39

Garden City High School's Trey Nuzum, right, goes up for a basket in the lane over Hays' Dalyn Schwarz Friday at GCHS.

Boys dropped by Hays for third time

After two earlier season losses to highly-regarded Hays High, once at the Indians’ for Western Athletic Conference action, and once in the semifinals of the Colby Orange and Black tournament in late January, coach Jacy Holloway and the Garden City Buffaloes’ boys’ basketball team was looking for the “third time’s the charm” motto to come into play.

But Friday night’s was not a charmed night for the Buffs as they dropped their third battle with the Indians, once again by a wide margin, this time 76-44, at The Garden to spoil Senior Night and Winter Homecoming festivities.

After getting burned by the Indians’ big men in the two earlier losses, Holloway and his staff game-planned to deny the inside game and force the Indians to shoot from the outside.

Hays’ two bigs – 6-6 senior Dalyn Schwarz and 6-5 junior Jace Linenberger – did enough work inside with 10 and 17 points, respectively, but the problem for the Buffs’ defense was that Hays’ perimeter players went ballistic, hitting 12 3-point baskets as 7 different Indians’ fired in baskets from long-range.

“They certainly didn’t take us lightly as they might have done some other teams recently,” Holloway said in the aftermath. “We had some issues with how we tried to attack their defense, and the turnovers (15+) allowed them to eventually get some easy baskets. It wasn’t because of our half-court defense. A lot of their 3’s were pretty well guarded – they just knocked ‘em down.”

Hays  18; 14; 20; 24; - 76

Garden City  10; 12; 9; 13; - 44

Garden City is back in action Tuesday at Liberal, in Buffaloes’ final regular season and WAC games. The girls tip off at 6 p.m. and the boys game will follow at approximately 7:45 p.m.