By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-Jamir Thomas led a quartet of starters in double figures with 16 points, the Broncbusters shot 45 percent from 3, and Garden City earned their fourth straight victory to begin the season with a 98-69 win over Spring Creek Academy Sunday afternoon at Conestoga Arena.
Spring Creek made things competitive early before Garden City used an 18-3 run to open up a 17-point advantage with less than nine minutes to play in the first half. After the Broncbusters watched the road squad cut their advantage to nine on Elijah Bishop's 3-pointer with 7:18 to go in the period, Garden City responded when Jaleel Simmons drained a 22-footer. Jamir Thomas followed with a layup, sparking a 13-2 run that pushed the lead to 21.
The Broncbusters had a chance to put the game out of reach late in the first half, but Patrick Nee's team surrendered a deep ball to Garrett Donald III before a Cheikh Kebe turnover led to another Donald triple at the buzzer. Garden City led 54-42 at the half.
In the second half, the Broncbusters built a 19-point cushion before Spring Creek cut it to nine once Donald hit a pair of free throws and Tyrus Johnson connected on an uncontested layup. After a Tony Hopkins turnover, Spring Creek had a chance to make it a two-possession contest. But Donald missed a 3-pointer from the top. Simmons answered with a layup for Garden City, Russhard Cruickshank buried a triple after a timeout, and the lead was back to double digits.
The Broncbusters eventually closed the game on a 19-3 surge, limiting Spring Creek to just one field goal over the final 5:02.
Cruickshank scored 16 points and was 4-of-5 from downtown for Garden City. Simmons had 15 in 20 minutes, Hopkins chipped in 11, and Kebe had 14 off the bench.
Johnson and William Mum each scored 17 for Spring Creek, who shot just 38 percent from the floor.
Garden City outscored Spring Creek 62-22 in the paint and scored 22 points off of 14 turnovers.
Next up: Garden City at North Platte-Friday, Nov. 16-5:45 p.m. pregame; 6 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westerkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app