GARDEN CITY — Garden City snapped a nine-game losing streak by defeating the Cloud County Thunderbirds 77-68 in a Jayhawk Conference Western Division game Saturday night.
The Broncbusters opened Conference play with consecutive wins, but then suffered nine straight losses, including a 70-57 setback at Cloud County back on Jan. 19.
Cloud County, now 14-13 overall and 5-8 in the Jayhawk West, was coming off a 72-42 home win over Dodge City on Wednesday night.
Playing a third game in six nights, the T-Birds got out to a seven-point lead on Garden City in the first half.
“We did a pretty good job offensively most of the night,” Cloud County coach Chad Eshbaugh said, “We were very good against their man. They went to a zone about 10 minutes in. It definitely changed the pace of the game, which was to their favor.”
Garden City, 11-17 overall and 3-11 in the Conference, battled back to within one point, 31-30, by halftime.
The Broncbusters, getting to the free throw line, turned the one-point deficit into a 13-point lead in the first 11 minutes of the second half.
“They got to the line a lot more, and the game really slowed down, and they shot a lot of free throws,” Eshbaugh said.
Garden City hit 14 of 20 free throws in the second half, and finished 22 of 31 for the game for 71 percent.
The T-Birds shot just 13 free throws in the game, and made nine of them for 69 percent.
“We didn’t do a very good job of controlling our defensive backboard, which has been a strength of this team,” Eshbaugh said, “Offensive rebounds turned into free throws.”
The Broncbusters pulled down 17 offensive rebounds, and had a 39-32 rebounding advantage in the game.
Cloud County was unable to battle back from the 13-point deficit.
Gerrae Williams knocked down five of eight three-point attempts in leading Cloud County with 19 points.
Ed Dyson scored 15 points for the T-Birds.
Cloud County shot 43 percent (26 of 60) from the field and made 7 of 20 three-point attempts for 40 percent.
Jade Cathay led four Garden City players in double figures with 21 points.
Frank Agholor scored 20 points for the Broncbusters.
Chris Hall finished with 11 points, and Reuben King added 10 points.
Garden City was 25 of 53 from the floor for 47 percent.
“They shot the ball really well against us. Better than they had shot it in the past,” Eshbaugh said.
Cloud County hosts Butler County on Wednesday night.