By Mike Pilosof
Independence, KS-Patrick Nee had grand plans heading to his old stomping grounds. Instead, his former team handed his current squad a stinging defeat, one that wasn't even as close as the final score indicated.
Demetric Horton hit a season-high five 3's, Tonje Durham and Tim Dalger each scored 12, and Independence soared past Garden City 84-69 Saturday night at Pirates' Fieldhouse.
"We played with absolutely no effort," Nee said afterwards. "There was no energy, and that's why the score was as lopsided as it was."
Things started off well for the Broncbusters. Mason Osborne buried a 3 from the corner, and Daishaun Woods hit a layup to make it 5-0 just over a minute into the contest. But that's about all that went right for Garden City. The Pirates responded with eight straight points, which was all part of a 14-2 run that was polished off by Dalger's nifty layup that put Independence up 14-7. After Darius Roden answered with a scoop shot to cut the deficit to five, the Pirates exploded, scoring 11 straight points, which included Demetric Horton's shot-clock buzzer-beating triple that gave the home team a 21-9 advantage.
"I thought we were awful defensively," Nee explained. "And again, that goes back to our lack of energy. Guys were dancing in the locker room and in the stands before the game, then simply didn't bring it when we started playing."
Unfortunately for nee, the avalanche continued. And when Cedrick Harris knocked down a midrange pullup, Independence was up 46-19 with 1:46 remaining in the half. It was 48-25 at the break.
"You couldn't have asked for a worse start," Nee admitted. "But when guys aren't focused, that's what happens."
Nee had seen this story before. His team nearly rallied from a 20-point second-half deficit vs. Midland. Against Otero, they stormed back from 18 down to take a brief second-half lead. But on Saturday, that vaunted run that fans have become so accustomed to seeing, never came.
Dalger converted a second-chance bucket, Durham slithered to the basket, and Dalger hit two free throws, stretching the Pirates' advantage to 57-30 with 15:55 to go. In fact, the lead didn't dip under 20 until the eight-minute mark when Kaleb Favors finished off a three-point play.
"We need to bring it; it's that simple," Nee added. "It doesn't get any easier. We have a long road trip on Wednesday; then we play a really good Butler team on Saturday. We have one day of prep, and then we are at Seward. So this type of performance couldn't have come at a worse time."
The performance spoiled some good news for Garden City, who watched Boise-State transfer Michael Frazier and hometown kid, Kyler Lamb make their season debuts. Frazier finished with 11 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes, while Lamb, who was an All-State performer for Jacy Holloway at Garden City High School last year, managed just one field goal: a late 3-pointer.
Horton netted 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting for Independence, who beat Garden City for the fourth straight time. Palm Beach State Junior College transfer Sam'I Roe scored 11,and Harris chipped in 12.
Next up: Garden City at Neosho-Wednesday, Jan. 8-7:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app