Thirty-two minutes were not enough to separate the Garden City and Dodge City boys high school basketball teams Tuesday night at The Garden.
What did, eventually, was the aggressive Dodge City defense that hounded the Buffaloes all night, and stripped the Buffs’ Carlos Acosta late in the overtime period, leading to what turned out to be Cody Ibarra’s game-winning three-pointer in the Red Demons’ 53-50 win.
Dodge City improved to 7-6 and 1-1 and Garden City dropped to 9-4, 2-1.
“Their defense is set up to get you sped up, and that’s what it did,” GCHS head coach Jacy Holloway said of the late turnover. “We thought we could kind of go against the game plan a little bit and run up and down with them, and we weren’t able to. We were up — we don’t need to be in a hurry.”
Just minutes earlier, the Buffs’ offensive patience had paid off, when they tied the game up with a 40-second possession to send it to overtime. Then, they took the lead on a 2-minute possession to start overtime. They started the period by winning the jump ball, and then ran set after set searching for an easy bucket, and got it on Jarrod Springston’s layup with 3:01 on the clock.
But after a few more possessions, the Buffs had a chance to ice the game, before Acosta turned it over and Ibarra hit the three.
“It’s a big shot, and Cody’s a good player,” Dodge City head coach Tony Starnes said. “I was kind of getting on them, our seniors, for not stepping up and such, and then he hits a big three.”
The Buffs then turned around and were unable to get the ball inbounded, turning it over again.
“Our best players did some things that were very uncharacteristic of what they’ve been doing all season,” Holloway said.
The Buffs turned it over 16 times against the Demons, and managed just seven points in the fourth quarter. Still, they were able to send it to overtime when Kyler Lamb circled through an off-ball screen, and dribbled to the left baseline, where he let off a floater that sunk to tie it at 47.
But their patience fell short when they needed it most.
“I was just proud of our guys in the half-court defense,” Starnes said. “We were, literally, having to play half-court man up to minutes at a time, so I’m just really proud of our guys for being disciplined.”
The Demons were led by Noah Sowers’ 18 points on three of eight from the field, and 12 of 13 from the free-throw line — the Demons had 30 free throws attempted to the Buffs’ 13.
Acosta led Garden with 15 points, and Lamb had 10.
Contact J. Levi Burnfin at email@example.com.