The Pratt Community College men’s basketball team finally had a game that was almost a laugher, sweeping Garden City aside 69-45. Meanwhile the #10 ranked Lady Broncbusters took the measure of the Lady Beavers, 64-49.
After a spate of games that were more likely than not to go down to the wire, the Beavers put together a solid team effort in dispatching Garden City rather easily— a team they had gone to overtime with earlier in the campaign.
Aaron Abrams kick-started the Beaver offense, drilling a 3 from the top of the key on the game’s initial possession. Then Kazmere Boyd converted an ‘and 1” and Abrams added another bucket making the score 8-0 before Garden City got untracked.
The ’Busters did get back in the game, though, tying up the score at 14 at the media time-out. It was the last portion of the first half where PCC began to pull away for good. Devin Callon got the ball rolling with a trifecta. Boyd got a dunk and Bryan Hellman cut backdoor for an open lay-up. DeShun Roberts got into the act with a bucket.
Then Aaron Abram took over the game, scoring the next 8 points for PCC, some of which were the result of offensive rebounds. Abram ended the game with a double-double, 20 points and 12 boards. “When Aaron rebounds, scoring comes to him,” PCC head coach Jesse Shaw said, analyzing Abram’s game. “He doesn’t have to force the issue, he doesn’t have to try to score. He just DOES score when he rebounds.”
During the stretch, Pratt was also playing excellent defense in addition to scoring and playing well on the glass. The Beavers forced Garden into numerous tough shots and turnovers, and were able to come away with several steals as well. PCC had opened a double-digit lead, 31-21, at the break.
To open the second half, Pratt went on a 25-8 run to pretty much decide the match. Keyed by Sean Michaelson’s back-to-back treys, the Beavers put quite a bit of daylight between them and the Broncbusters, leading 56-29 at the media time-out.
Reserves got a lot of the minutes down the stretch for PCC, as Coach Shaw was able to get pretty deep into his bench. The bench scored 30 points for PCC, so it wasn’t like there was a drop-off even with the starters sitting. The contest ended 69-45 in favor of the Beavers.
“It feels good to put somebody away,” Shaw mentioned. “We were able to get everyone into the game.” Twelve different players put points up for PCC.
“Garden City is a good match-up for us,” Shaw continued. “And the kids were playing hard for whatever reason.”
Page 2 of 3 - Shaw felt that rebounding was a big key to the win. PCC out-boarded Garden 50-35. “Deon Taylor was huge on the boards tonight,” Shaw said. “We didn’t really make that many shots—just some big ones at key times. But even though we didn’t shoot that well, we were able to do the things that you CAN do every night: play defense, rebound and take care of the basketball. We were able to make up for spotty shooting with defense and offensive boards.”
PRATT 31 38 69
GARDEN 21 24 45
Flynn 6; Taylor 3; Roberts 6; Aaron Abram 20; Callon 3; Stivrins 1; Hellman 2; Kazmere Boyd 10; Thomas 4; Michaelson 8; Abraham 6; Downs 1
The women’s game went Garden City’s way, 64-49—but the game was actually closer than the final score might indicate. “They (Garden) made a lot of free throws at the end to kind of pull away,” stated PCC women’s coach Stephanie Thompson, “but up until then the game had been pretty competitive.”
For long stretches, the Lady Beavers showed they could play right with the #10 ranked Lady ’Busters. In the first five minutes, Garden got out to a 7-0 lead, mostly due to Pratt’s cold shooting. The rest of the half, however, PCC kept the deficit right at 7, going into the intermission trailing 26-19.
Tatiana Grant drove the lane to open the second half and cut the lead to 5, but that was as close as Pratt would get. Garden again went on a five minute run, pushing their lead to 39-24 at the 14:42 mark. PCC hung in from that point on, though, closing the gap a little until late free throws eventually re-established the GCCC 15 point margin of victory, 64-49.
Shooting percentages were the deciding factor in the game. Pratt shot a dismal 18% in the opening stanza, and ended the game shooting only 25%. They also only connected on 1/10 from long range. “In the first half, I thought we had poor shot selection,” Coach Thompson said. “Then in the second half, we couldn’t even make the easy shots.”
The Lady Beavers took care of the ball, matching Garden’s 13 turnovers. They rebounded with the Broncs, Garden having a slight edge 42-41. It really just came down to, the rims had seemingly been tightened with a torque wrench prior to the game as far as the Beavers were concerned.
The game got a little chippy toward the end, with physical play and verbal jousting coming from both sides. “It was a physical basketball game,” Thompson explained. “They (Garden) got a little mouthy, and our kids aren’t going to back down.”
Page 3 of 3 - “We battled,” Thompson continued, “we just couldn’t shoot. We held them defensively right where we needed to, we just couldn’t get shots to fall.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams now sport identical 14-12 overall (4-8 in the Jayhawk) records. The Beavers travel to Butler County on Saturday.
PCC 19 30 49
GARDEN 26 38 64
Tatiana Grant 12; Pendry 6; Hayli Smith 12; Strobel 2; Broadwater 8; Parks 8; Stein 1