For the Garden City Bearkats, it was a matter of simple math — two is greater than one.
The Bearkats rode the hot shooting hands of Sam Miller and Corbin Davis to a 71-52 victory over Ira in their Class 1A Div. II regional quarterfinal showdown in Garrett Coliseum Tuesday night.
Garden City's formula for success? Miller and Davis out-aced Ira's Lance Morris.
The 'Kats (23-11) were unable to slow down Morris, who ended the night with 23 points, so they decided to out-produce him. To do that, they turned to their sophomore duo of Miller and Davis, who scored 24 and 18 points, respectively.
It was Miller and Davis who helped Garden City dig its way out of an early 8-0 hole and take the lead for good in the second quarter, and they seemingly had an answer for every charge Ira made thereafter.
“They've been getting big baskets for us all year,” GCHS Coach Koby Abney said after the game. “I guess that's just a part of being sophomores — they don't realize how tough this game is.”
In the early going, however, it appeared that if Morris was going to single-handedly lead the Bulldogs to victory. The 5-foot-10 junior scored half of his team's first 18 points to give Ira the lead after one quarter.
But Morris picked up two quick fouls late in the first quarter and was forced to the bench for the remainder of the half. That's when the Bearkats went to work.
Miller was the main instigator behind the rally, scoring eight points during a three-minute stretch of the second quarter to bring Garden City level with Ira, then he and Davis scored on consecutive possessions to give the 'Kats the lead for good.
Once Morris returned to the game in the second half, however, the Bulldogs (24-6) began whittling away at the lead and started the fourth quarter only two back of the Bearkats.
Enter Davis and Miller.
With Garden City holding a slim 51-47 lead three minutes into the final quarter, Davis sank three-pointers on consecutive possessions and Miller followed that with a pair of two-pointers to push the Bearkats' edge up to 12 points with 3:29 remaining.
Abney said his team has exceeded just about everyone's expectations this year.
“At the beginning of the year, I thought that if everything went well for us, we might make a run for the playoffs,” he said. “I knew the talent was there, but I wasn't sure if they had the mental toughness. But they've come through all year long.”
Garden City begins play at the Region II-1A Div. II tournament Friday at Abilene Christian University.
GARDEN CITY (71) — Dillon Koenning 2 7-8 13; Sam Miller 10 1-2 24; Corbin Davis 4 8-12 18; Reggie Halfmann 2 3-6 7; Peyton Schaefer 1 2-3 5; Austin Odom 1 0-0 2; Michael Lopez 1 0-0 2; totals 21 21-31 71.
IRA (52) Logan Morris 3 5-6 11; Jared Cotton 1 0-1 2; Tyler Goodwin 6 0-0 14; Lance Morris 10 2-11 23; Cristian Ornelas 1 0-0 2; totals 21 7-18 52.
GCHS 11 20 13 27 — 71
IRA 18 7 17 10 — 52
Three-point goals — Garden City 8 (Koenning, Miller 3, Davis 2, Schaefer), Ira 2 (Goodwin 2, La. Morris); total fouls — Garden City 18, Ira 22; Fouled out — Lopez, Goodwin; Technical — Ira bench.