By Mike Pilosof
Photos by Adam Shrimplin
Garden City, KS-Wednesday night was literally a first for Garden City Coach Patrick Nee.
"I've never seen a team close a game like that," he said.
Growing up in a coaching family, Nee has seen plenty of ups and downs on the hardwood. But the final nine minutes of this game will go down as one of the most perplexing stretches of basketball in some time.
Rian Carter scored 22 points in 38 minutes, the Trojans held Garden City to just two points over the game's final 9:17, and Colby ran away from the Broncbusters 73-54 at Conestoga Arena.
"I felt like we caught Colby off guard in the first half," Nee said. "I didn't think they were ready to play, and we should have been up by more."
Garden City's final 20 minutes bared no resemblance to what they did in the first half. Nee's squad shot 50 percent and led by eight when Jamir Thomas converted a second-chance layup to make it 31-23 with 2:30 to play until the intermission.
"We just missed one opportunity after another," Nee said. "And when you let a good team hang around, bad things happen."
Colby trimmed the deficit to four at the half, and took the lead for good on Beaudion's 3-pointer from the wing with 16:50 to go in the final period. But it never felt like the game was out or reach until that fatal stretch.
Trailing by seven, Jakobi Pearson was fouled shooting a 3. The freshman hit two of three free throws to pull the Broncbusters within five, 56-51. Little did they know, that would be their last points until Claiborne Kyles hit a meaningless trey with 10 seconds left. On the other end, Beaudion hit two free throws followed by a jumper, Moses Bol, who blocked a season-high six shots, hit a reverse layup, and the onslaught officially commenced. The Trojans scored 17 straight points, and when Caleb Jones-McCrary knocked down two free throws, Colby had completed a 30-point turnaround, flipping an eight-point deficit into a 22-point lead, 73-51.
"That was just bad basketball," Nee said. "We had way too many turnovers, and it seemed like every time we went on a run, they called a timeout and answered us."
Javion May, who was plagued by foul trouble in the first half, scored 12 points for Colby, who won for the fourth time in their last five games. Bol finished with three points, eight rebounds and six blocks.
Thomas was the lone Broncbuster in double figures with 18 points in 29 minutes off the bench. Garden City was just 4-of-32 shooting (13 percent) in the second half.
Next up: Garden City at Barton County-Saturday, Feb. 2-7:30 p.m. on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app