GCCC returns to court, scores OT win
Professional scorer is the most overused cliché in basketball. It somehow tries to rationalize a player who knows how to get buckets. Yet, what other way would you describe Denver Jones? And after Saturday's performance, the freshman is stating his case as one of the best players in the Jayhawk Conference.
Jones poured in 24 points in 42 minutes, Jaduhkiss Soto added a season-high 18, and Garden City Community College returned from a two-week hiatus to beat Allen in overtime 89-83 at Conestoga Arena.
"We got released on Thursday," Head Coach Cole Dewey said afterwards. "That gave our team two days to get ready, which was more than I thought that we would have. And these guys are in the gym all night. So, I wasn't surprised how well we shot it."
The Broncbusters connected on 48 percent from the field, made 13-of-33 triples and finished 22-of-27 at the line, earning their second conference win of the season while improving to 3-2 overall. Side note-Garden City is 27-of-61 (44 percent) from deep in their last two games.
"I literally mean that these guys live in the gym at night," Dewey explained.
The results spoke for themselves, and Jones was the igniter, drilling his first four jumpers from the field, canning four triples before snaking inside for a layup, giving Garden City a 23-16 advantage nine minutes into the contest. But after Allen Coach, Andy Shaw called a timeout, the Red Evils responded in a big way, scoring nine straight points capped with an Ed Wright triple that put the road team up 25-23. They eventually built that lead to nine after Wright swished another long ball, prompting Dewey to stop play.
"Allen is a good team, and they have a very good coach," Dewey said. "We knew this would be far from a gimmie."
Trailing 41-32, the Broncbusters went to work. Soto hit a floater in the paint, Mason Osborne got free for a reverse layup along the left baseline, and KJ Marshall buried a 3-pointer with 10 seconds to play, polishing off a 7-0 run to pull Garden City to within two at the break, 41-39. At the same time, the brown and gold held Allen scoreless for the final 2:52 of the half.
"We're hoping that this game can push us in the right direction," Dewey said. "We figured some things out, and that's all that matters at the end of the day."
Neither team created much separation in the second half with the lead changing hands seven times. But with less than five minutes to go, Garden City ripped off a 12-4 run, opening up their largest lead of the period, 72-66. Unfortunately, that didn't stick either. Freddie Word hit two backbreaking shots in the final 1:12, and Ahmed Mahgoub converted an and-1 layup to tie things up at 75.
With two chances to win the game in regulation, Garden City faltered. Mohamed Diarra was called for an offensive foul, and Jasman Sangha missed a turnaround 10-footer at the horn.
"We made a couple of dumb mistakes at the end of the game that could have cost us," Dewey said. "But we found a way."
Down 83-82 in overtime, Marshall came up big swishing a trey, Soto stole the ball near half court before throwing down a vicious right-handed dunk, and Garden City put the game away with a 7-0 run over the final 1:24.
Jones scored 16 of his 24 in the first half for Garden City, which beat Allen for the eighth time in their last 11 meetings. Marshall tallied 16 points on a season-best four made 3's, and JJ Watson chipped in 12 in 14 minutes off the bench.
"JJ is helping us in very limited minutes," Dewey added. "He knows how to score. And today, he played some really good defense when he was in there."
Mahgoub scored 18 points in 35 minutes for Allen, which lost for the 13th time in their last 17 games dating back to last season. Wright added 17, and Word tallied 15.
Allen County 41; 34; 8; - 83
Garden City 39; 36; 14; - 89
Garden City was in action Monday with a game at Pratt.