Second half dooms GCCC in loss to Hutch

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Khadim Samb, right, drives past Hutchinson's Majok Kuath for a basket Saturday at Perryman Athletic Complex.

The day before their showdown with perennial power Hutchinson, Garden City Community College first-year Head Coach, Cole Dewey, sitting in his office with his arms crossed and his head down, talked about a defensive game plan that included multiple zone schemes. "We have to try and slow them down because they're good enough that they will eventually figure it out," he said.

For the first 20 minutes on Saturday, Steve Eck's team acted as if they had never seen a box-and-1 or a triangle-and-2. In fact, the strategy was to let Hutchinson shoot as many 3's as they wanted. And the plan worked. But all of that changed in the second half thanks to a super-charged Blue Dragon attack led by Conference Player of the Year candidate, Matt Mayers.

The sophomore big man notched his seventh straight double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds, Josh Baker added 16 off the bench, and Hutchinson turned a five-point halftime deficit into an 88-70 rout of the Broncbusters at Conestoga Arena.

"We lost the game because we couldn't rebound," Dewey said afterwards. "I don't think that any team I've ever coached has been outrebounded by 20."

The Blue Dragons annihilated Garden City on the glass, gaining a 47-27 advantage while pulling down 18 offensive rebounds.

"If you get outrebounded like that, you're not going to win any games," Dewey explained.

Hutchinson won their fifth straight game while beating Garden City for the 12th time in their last 14 meetings. Meantime the loss snapped the Broncbusters' three-game winning streak.

"We just have to get better," Dewey said. "We need to sit down with each individual player and show them exactly what they're doing wrong."

However, not much went wrong for the brown and gold in the first half.

Trailing by eight five minutes into the contest after Stephan Gabriel drilled a 3-pointer to cap a 10-0 Blue Dragon surge, Garden City went to work. Mohamed Diarra's second-chance bucket coupled with a Rodney Lewis trey made it a three-point game. That was followed up by two JJ Watson triples; one from 30-feet out that knotted the score at 18. And after Hutchinson built the lead back to six, the Broncbusters countered with a 19-5 run that was polished off with Denver Jones' spectacular and-1 finish that put Garden City on top 40-32 with 3:06 left in the period. They were up five at the break.

"The reason we were up in the first half is because we turned the ball over once and were getting really good shots," Dewey said.

Boy did that change in the second.

After Jaduhkiss Soto hit a driving layup to put the Broncbusters up 49-43 with 18:43 to play, Hutchinson hit Garden City with an avalanche. Isaiah Bujdoso hit a midrange pullup, Baker knocked down a 3-pointer, Gabriel grabbed a missed shot and laid it back in, Bujdoso nailed a triple, and Majok Kuath scored on a second-chance bucket, fueling a 23-1 blitz that happened in less than four minutes. When it was over, the brown and gold was down 16, and the life had been totally sucked out of the building.

"We were just taking rushed shots in the second half," Dewey mentioned. "I believe that was the worst half of basketball that we've played all year."

Garden City finished 0-of-9 from 3 in the second half and shot 30 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes. And Jones, who lit up the Blue Dragons for 17 points and five dimes in the first period, was limited to just four points and two shots in the second.

"We just couldn't score," Dewey said. "I tried to call like two or three timeouts to stop it. I really think that their length bothered us because we drew up plays that have worked all year, but everything was contested."

Chris Robinson scored 13 points off the bench on 5-of-11 shooting for Hutchinson, which won their second straight game when trailing at the half. Bujdoso added 13, and Kuath had seven points and 12 boards.

Jones was the lone Broncbuster in double figures with 21 points on 6-of-9 from the field.

HUTCHINSON  42; 46; - 88

GARDEN CITY  47; 23; - 70

Garden City will host Colby at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.