Garden City falls short to Butler, 67-60

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's JJ Watson, left, goes up for a three-point basket over Dodge City's Hasahan Reynolds Saturday at Perryman Athletic Complex.

EL DORADO - Never in Cole Dewey's wildest dreams did he envision his team missing 28 of their first 33 shots. It was a first-half performance to forget, one that was exacerbated by the fact that the Broncbusters were missing two of their best players. Yet, there they were, hanging around in the final minutes. But in the end, Butler had just enough to send Garden City Community College to their second straight loss.

Shawn Hopkins scored 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds, DeeJuan Pruitt added 11 points and 10 boards, and the Grizzlies outlasted the Broncbusters 67-60 Monday night at the Power Plant. The Loss trimmed Garden City's lead over Colby to just two games in the Jayhawk West with four to play.

"We have nothing to hang our heads about tonight," Dewey said afterwards. "These guys battled. We guarded for 40 minutes. Butler shoots the ball so well that we played man for most of the night."

Playing without Denver Jones and Mohamed Diarra for a second straight game, the Broncbuster offense looked like it was stuck in mud. They clanged eight of their first nine shots and were down 10-5 eight minutes into the contest. Then, after JJ Watson, who made his first start of the season, drilled a 3 from the left wing to tie it, the Grizzlies ripped off seven straight points aided by Hopkins triple from the top of the key that made it 21-14. Butler was up 23-16 at the intermission.

"When I saw the stat sheet, I couldn't believe it," Dewey stated. "I don't think I've ever had a team shoot 16 percent."

Things didn't change much in the first nine minutes of the final frame, and when Hopkins nailed another long ball from the left wing, Garden City was   staring at an 11-point deficit with 11:28 to play.

"Our guys just didn't have their legs in this game," Dewey said. "I've never been involved in a stretch where we've played this many games in such a short amount of time. But it is what it is, and we're all going through it."

As fatigued as Garden City appeared, Dewey's bunch found a way to stay in the game. Watson swished back-to-back treys, Mason Osborne knifed his way to the rim before hitting a triple from the left corner, and the Broncbusters were within three, 46-43 on the backing of an 11-3 surge. But that's as close as they got the rest of the way. Donyae McCaskill converted a fantastic and-1 reverse layup, Pruitt finished off a run-out dunk, and Keyon Thomas buried a 3 from the right corner as the shot clock expired, stretching the lead back to 11 with 5:04 to play.

"We had guys who normally are going a million miles an hour; they just seemed a bit off tonight," Dewey said. "There is no way these guys are practicing tomorrow. We have to get our bodies right."

The Broncbusters did make one final push, cutting Butler's lead to four three times over the final 1:18. But they finally ran out of gas, and the Grizzlies secured their ninth home win of the season.

"I'm proud of these guys for how they fought in this game," Dewey said. "We just have to get healthy. That's our focus right now."

Watson finished with 13 points to pace the Broncbusters but was just 4-of-13 from the field and 3-of-9 from downtown. Jasman Sangha added 11 points and eight rebounds, and Jaduhkiss Soto chipped in 11 in 18 minutes off the bench.

Noah Thomasson scored 10 for Butler, which won its third straight game after back-to-back losses to East powers Coffeyville and Cowley. And after shooting just 32 percent in the first half, the Grizzlies hit 13-of-26 from the field over the final 20 minutes.

GARDEN CITY  16; 44; - 60

BUTLER  23; 44; - 67

Garden City hosted Seward County on Wednesday.