Busters fall to Otero, 60-57.
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
Learning to win a close game is the next step for the Garden City Community College men's basketball team, according to head coach Brady Trenkle.
With two minutes to go on Tuesday night at the Perryman Athletic Complex, the Broncbusters were tied, 57-57, with Otero (La Junta, Colo.) Junior College. The Busters did not score another point in the final two minutes, and Otero got to the free-throw line two times, going 3-of-4, to pull out the 60-57 non-conference win.
"I'll just be blunt with you," Trenkle said after the game, "we don't know how to win, yet. And that takes time."
Sophomore forward Jeremy Wilson had a similar reaction.
"Not enough execution," Wilson said about the Busters' play late. "We've got to learn to adjust to the new rules, and learn to just sit down and guard without looking."
But it was the lack of execution that cost the Busters (3-2) late. The Rattlers (4-1) did not score a field goal in the final three minutes, but scored the game-winning three points on Buster fouls.
Sophomore Buster forward Jade Cathey was called for a block on Chris Golden with 50 seconds to play. Golden hit both free throws.
The Busters' ensuing possession was stopped on a travel call, giving Otero the ball back with less than 30 seconds to go.
With the shot clock off, the Busters had to foul to get the ball back. However, there was some miscommunication during the previous timeout and point guard Jalen Variste guarded straight instead. More than 12 seconds ticked off before the Busters were able to commit a foul and put Otero's Nick Ongarato on the line for two.
"We're young," Trenkle said about the confusion. "It's just a young move."
Ongarato hit 1-of-2 to put the Rattlers up three with 13 seconds to play. But instead of setting up a game-tying three, Trenkle wanted a quick two and then foul the Rattlers on the inbound.
"I didn't want to just set up some set and say hey, 'this is what we're doing, trying to get a three,'" the first-year coach said. "I wanted to get the quick two, foul, try to cut it to two, and give us six seconds to go the length."
Variste drove down the lane to the right through traffic, but the defense collapsed and the layup was contested as it bounced off the rim harmlessly and Otero got the rebound for the win.
"It's hard losing home games," Trenkle said. "It'll be a long week. It's hard to swallow."
That long week is the layoff the Busters have before traveling to La Junta, Colo., to take on the same Otero team next Tuesday, which went 11-2 at home last season.
Otero (69) — Golden 5-17 5-5 18; Little 1-8 3-3 5; Ongarato 1-5 1-2 3; Elem 1-1 2-4 4; Hillyer 2-2 0-0 4; Walker 1-3 0-0 3; Lucero 0-1 0-0 0; Healy 5-7 1-3 14; Mbodj 2-6 1-2 5; Cosby-Lee 0-0 0-0 0; Williams 2-2 0-1 4.
Garden City (62) — Wilson 4-8 2-2 12; Whitaker 3-4 2-2 9; Walker 4-8 1-2 10; King 0-2 1-3 3; Variste 1-6 3-5 5; Oyugi 1-2 1-2 3; Johnson 1-3 0-2 2; Taylor 0-2 0-2 0; Craig 1-3 0-0 2; Cathey 6-9 1-4 13.
Halftime--Garden City 32-29. 3-point goals--Otero 7-18 (Golden 3-9, Little 0-2, Ongarato 0-3, Walker 1-1, Healy 3-3). Garden City 4-11 (Wilson 2-4, Whitaker 1-1, Walker 1-3, King 0-1, Oyugi 0-1, Taylor 0-1). Fouled out--None. Total fouls--Otero 23, Garden City 20.