The third time is a charm. It’s tough to beat the same team three times in a season. Garden City and Dodge City basketball have been on the receiving end of those sayings as sub-state madness ensues. The Lady Demons upset the Lady Buffs in the first round and on Friday night the boys returned the favor. In the 6A sub-state final Garden City upset Dodge City 40-37.
In their previous two meetings during the regular season the Demons defeated the Buffs by 15 points. The 6A sub-state championship was a different story. Garden City found Dodge City’s weaknesses and exposed them.
“We played great defense tonight,” Garden senior Evan Riggs said. “We really kept them out of the lane. They lived in the lane the first two games but this game we were making them shoot three-pointers. They made a couple but we can live with that.”
Garden City head coach Jacy Holloway said the main difference this time was getting off to a good start.
“We really did a good job offensively of getting some good looks and then knocking them down,” he said. “Bo Banner hit a couple threes in the first quarter and that really helped us out. Defensively, I thought we did a better job of understanding what they wanted to get and we did a good job of taking that away.”
That good start was a 8-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. Banner opened the second quarter with a three but it only sparked the back-and-forth battle. Dodge City junior Jace Larson dropped in a jump shot and the score was tied at 15. The clock counted down but with one second left before halftime Garden junior Emilio Parr drove the lane and laid in two. It gave the Buffs the momentum going in to the locker room 19-15.
Hunter Delgado was also clutch on the perimeter. He sank a huge three to give the buffs a three point lead in the third. The intensity going into the fourth quarter was loudly displayed throughout the student sections. “We are Dodge City” and “GC What!” were chanted across the gym. Dodge City would find their one point lead when Shaphan Gross battled through the lane to put up two 34-33.
Tied at 31 with four minutes remaining Delgado pulled out another momentum shifting three. Fouls and free throws took over for the final two minutes. The third time was certainly a charm for the Buffs. Their fans rushed the court as they defeated Dodge City 40-37.
Garden senior and leading scorer Bo Banner said he felt the momentum shift.
“The main turning point for us was hitting free throws,” he said. “Terpstra made a couple free throws and that put us over the hump. We knew we could come out and compete with this team and beat them. We knew they weren’t better than us.”
That confidence landed them a state playoff berth. The Buffs first since 2007.
“It’s something that I’ve tried to talk to them about and try to tell them how special it is,” Holloway said. “It’s nice that at almost 40 years old you can look back and say that you went to state. It’s something special and it won’t be something they will ever forget.”
He also said the win was more special because it was a win over their rival.
“These guys know that we talked about getting this win,” Holloway said. “We were tired of being beat by Dodge City in this and other sports so it’s great for these kids and they’ve earned it. We finally allowed the fans and everybody to see how well and hard we practice.”