By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-When Patrick Nee put this team together, he envisioned a squad so potent offensively, that they would make up for some of their defensive deficiencies. And while they're still looking for some consistency, Monday night's showing proved that there's something cooking out in Western Kansas.
Traylnn Spencer scored 21 points, six different Broncbusters reached double figures, and Garden City ran away from McCook 108-80 at Conestoga Arena.
"I couldn't even believe we shot that well from 3 in the second half," said Nee, whose team connected on 12-of-18 triples over the final 20 minutes. "It didn't even seem like that many."
Garden City set a new season-high with 15 made 3's, falling just two shy of tying the single-game record set back in 2017.
"What I like is that everything flowed tonight," Nee said. "Even when we got up big, we never took bad shots."
And while their defense allowed McCook to shoot 55 percent from the floor, they forced the Indians into a season-worst 23 turnovers-leading directly to 41 points.
"Our defense wasn't great," Nee said. "There are still things that we need to fix. And it's surprising to see how many turnovers that we forced."
McCook gave it away 15 times in the first half, helping Garden City build a 12-point edge. Spencer hit a 3 from the corner, Kaleb Favors got to the rim, and Daishaun Woods drilled a trey from the wing, putting the Broncbusters up 27-15 with seven minutes to go. They were up nine at the break.
"I thought we moved the ball really well," Nee said. "We've talked about how we have to continue to move the ball side to side."
The second half was an offensive masterpiece, one that was a welcome site for Nee after his team shot below 40 percent in their previous two games. Mason Osborne swished a 3 from the left corner, Darius Roden completed a three-point play, and Spencer dropped in an and-1 layup, giving Garden City a 68-53 advantage with 11:50 remaining. Moments later, Naj Ashley-Emory hit a pullup 3-pointer from the left wing, Tahlik Chavez got loose for a triple in the right corner, and Woods hit a long ball, stretching the lead to 21. It swelled to as high as 34 following Emory's fourth trey of the game, making it 108-74 with 1:20 to go.
"I think we got ourselves ready for conference play," Nee said. "Tonight was good solid win, but now we have to get ready for a very good Cloud County team. Non-conference play is over, and our goal is a conference championship."
Emory poured in a season-high 23 points on a perfect 4-of-4 from downtown for Garden City, who trailed for all of a 1:20 in the game. Chavez added 16, Roden dropped in 18 off the bench, and Woods tallied 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
Justin Costello, a one-time walk-on at Nebraska (the same school Nee's father, Danny coached at), scored 17 points for the Indians, who dropped their third straight game. Rahiem Sullivan chipped in 16 points in 27 minutes, and Tyrik Singh added 13.
Next up: Garden City vs. Cloud County-Wednesday, Nov. 27-4 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com.kwkr and KWKR mobile app