By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-Despite not returning a single player from last year's roster, Brady Trenkle's Broncbusters were still picked to finish fifth in the Jayhawk Conference preseason poll.
"It shows that people have taken notice of what we've done during our scrimmages," the fifth-year coach said last week. "We're just so young."
Youth movement or not, Garden City showed plenty of promise in their season opener on Wednesday night.
Octavius Meadows scored a game-high 19 points to lead five Broncbusters in double figures, the brown and gold shot 55 percent from the field, and Garden City routed Sterling College 107-87 at Conestoga Arena.
"We have a lot of unselfish guys on this team," Trenkle said. "This is how it should be every game."
Garden City (1-0) turned an early four-point deficit into a four-point lead, thanks to an 11-2 spurt spearheaded by a Pierre Johnson triple and back-to-back layups by Elvis Harvey and Jeff Otchere that made it 16-12.
The Broncbusters never trailed again.
"We're young, but all I ask of these guys is to play hard every night," Trenkle said.
Sterling (0-2) made things interesting a couple of times, trimming the Broncbusters 17-point lead down to six late in the first half before Russhard Cruickshank and Tanner Smith drained 3-pointers in the final 60 seconds to give Garden City a 56-46 advantage at the break.
"We've got a long way to go, and our transition defense has to get better," Trenkle explained.
Then, after Garden City pushed their advantage to 71-50 in the second half, the Warriors kept coming. Josh Turner drained a pair of treys and Tobi Adeleye connected on a 15-footer that made it an 11-point game.
That's when Meadows took over, scoring 11 points over the final 8:46, which included a thunderous driving dunk with 3:24 left that put the game on ice.
"The funny thing is that Octavius was on the floor more for his energy; not necessarily his scoring," Trenkle said. "He earned the start tonight, and he took over when we needed him to."
Meadows had plenty of help. Cruickshank scored 11 of his 17 in the first 20 minutes. He finished 7-of-15 from the field while dishing out three assists. Pierre Johnson added 14, Jamir Thomas netted 13, and Kendale Hampton tallied 11 off the bench.
"Our real test comes on Friday," Trenkle said. "We are going to have to play more consistent."
Next up: Garden City vs. Cedar Valley-Friday, Nov. 3-8 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app