POST — Starting fast was key for the Garden City Bearkats against No. 10 Ira in Wednesday’s regional quarterfinal.
The exact opposite happened.
“We picked a great time of the year to play our absolute worst quarter of basketball, worst half of basketball,” GCHS Koby Abney said. “I don’t think we were overwhelmed by the moment, but we just didn’t play well. You can’t do that in the quarterfinals. There are no bad teams.”
The Bearkats struggled early on the way to a 69-50 loss Wednesday in Post, ending their playoff run.
Ira jumped out on Garden City 15-4 in the first quarter, thanks to Lance Morris, Richard DeLuna and Kylor Fine. Garden City couldn’t slow down Ira much in the second, either. The Bulldogs went into halftime with a 35-12 lead.
Abney said he knew this would be the Bearkats’ biggest challenge yet in the playoffs. Garden City breezed through Hermleigh and Dell City in the bi-district and area rounds, respectively. Ira was just on another level.
A lot of the damge Ira did came from Fine, who finished with a game-high 25 points. The center was the Bulldogs’ go-to player, along with Morris, who scored 12.
Abney said he thought his team did a good job handling Fine in the first half, not allowing him to easily score in the paint. But Ira winning the battle on the glass kept the Bearkats from staying in the game.
Garden City had hope after two Peyton Schaefer 3-pointers had the Bearkats down by 12 in the middle of the third, but Ira continued to answer back.
Overall, Abney was pleased with the season his team had. The late start to the season because of football was tough to deal with, but his team battled back to make the regional quarterfinals.
“It’ll always be frustrating, starting late,” Abney said. “I would love to have a team come in for a whole basketball season, but at the same time, they worked incredibly hard. They’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do. I think we got a lot better.”
IRA 69, GARDEN CITY 50
Ira 15 20 13 21 - 69
Garden City 4 8 18 20 - 50
Garden City — Josh Colunga 2, Brian Hirt 6, Reggie Halfmann 3, Payton Schaefer 6, Hayden Halfmann 21, Aaron Long 2, Brett Chudej 10
Ira — Seth Cotton 6, Jared Cotton 6, Lance Morris 16, Richard DeLuna 4, Kell Odom 12, Kylor Fine 25
3 point field goals — Ira 2 (S. Cotton 1, Odom 1), Garden City 2 (Schaefer 2)
Free throws — GCHS 6-13, 17-25
Total fouls — GCHS 19, Ira 13. Fouled out: Colunga, Chudej
MERKEL — Sands head coach Billy Grumbles has no regrets.
The Mustangs were close to scoring a huge upset over Paducah in the regional quarterfinals Wednesday in Merkel, but in the end, the Dragons prevailed 47-44.
The Mustangs were down 45-44 with 11 seconds left in the game when they sent Paducah to the line for two free throws. Now down 47-44, the Mustangs had a chance to force overtime, but Blake Thomasson missed a 3-pointer, allowing Paducah to breathe a sigh of relief.
Grumbles said his team played as well as it could Wednesday night. The Mustangs finished the season as district champions, beating Grady twice.
PADUCAH 47, SANDS 44
Sands 10 4 18 12 - 44
Paducah 5 10 16 15 - 47
Sands — Blake Thomasson 17, Preston Zant 9, Bert Ybarra 8, Caleb Tomasson 5, Landon Parker 5
LUBBOCK — Stanton’s run in the playoffs ended at the hands of Muleshoe Wednesday in Lubbock.
The Buffs got 25 points from Tyler Fulton, but that wasn’t enough to knock off Muleshoe in the regional quarterfinal matchup.
Stanton was coming off a thrilling 49-47 win over No. 18 Bushland in the area round and a solid win over Kermit in the bi-district round of the playoffs. Outside of Fulton’s performance, Trace Sidle had 11 points.
STANTON 58, MULESHOE 48
Stanton 22 6 6 14 - 48
Muleshoe 13 10 19 16 - 58
Stanton — Tyler Fulton 25, Trace Sidle 11, Ryan Brantley 7, Grayson Gray 5