By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-Up until now, Garden City really hadn't been tested. Even down 24 vs. North Platte, the Broncbusters retook control of the game before going ice cold down the stretch.
However, on Friday, Garden City ran up against a team that plans on making a run deep into March.
Jonas Parker scored 20 points, Jawaun Daniels added 10 off the bench, and No. 7 Odessa cruised past the Broncbusters 77-61 at Conestoga Arena.
"Every game is a learning experience," Garden City Head Coach Patrick Nee said. "Tonight, we ran into a really good team."
Odessa wasn't only good; they were efficient. The Wranglers shot 56 percent from the floor and connected on 7-of-15 from deep. They had 15 assists on their 28 made baskets.
Garden City had a four-point lead six minutes into the contest. But the Wranglers never let them create any separation. Adrean Johnson nailed a triple with 9:36 left, and Odessa had a 17-15 edge. After Russhard Cruickshank's 3 tied the contest at 21, Anthony Johnson hit two from deep, Parker banked home a layup, and the Wranglers closed the half on a 13-6 run to take a 34-27 advantage into the locker room.
The Broncbusters kept things close early in the second half, cutting the deficit to two on Traylynn Spencer's layup. Moments later after James Reese hit a 3, Tony Hopkins and Jakobi Pearson hit back-to-back layups to cut it to one, 39-38.
That's when Garden City went silent.
The Wranglers answered with a 17-4 surge, building their lead to 12 once Reese swished a pair of free throws, putting Odessa up 57-42. That cushion grew to as many as 21 with 4:37 to play.
Reese added nine for Odessa, who won their fifth straight game. (Adrean) Johnson chipped in eight in 26 minutes, while (Anthony) Johnson tallied nine off the bench. He drained three triples.
Next up: Garden City vs. New Mexico-Saturday, Nov. 24-3:45 p.m. pregame; 4 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westenrkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app