GARDEN CITY, Kansas — A late surge came up a little short for the Cloud County Community College basketball team in its 73-65 road loss to Garden City Community College.
"It's disappointing because the guys did play hard and did a lot of great things," said Cloud County head coach, Jordan Altman. "We had a season-low in turnovers (8), with just two in the second half. It's kind of a heartbreaker because I though we put forth a great effort, but just couldn't get some shots to fall.
The T-Birds (6-18 overall, 4-17 KJCCC) trailed by as many as 14 on Saturday in the first half before going on a 7-0 blitz to head into the locker rooms down 35-28.,
Garden City (16-9 overall, 12-9 KJCCC) was able to maintain a 6-10 points lead much of the second half, and were up as late as was 11 at 60-49 with 8:46 remaining, before the T-Birds mounted a comeback behind.
Cloud County produced a 14-6 run to close the gap to 66-63 with 4:19 left on a layup by freshman forward Breyon Jackson.
Jackson, who sparked the T-Birds with a team-high 16 points on Saturday, also grabbed 10 rebounds as the double-doubles posted by he and redshirt sophomore Ramion Burt Jr. (12 points and 10 rebounds) kept the T-Birds within striking distance.
"They went up against the deepest and arguably the most talented frontcourt in the league in Garden City," said Altman, referring to Burt Jr. and Jackson. "For them to do that (double-double), particularly against a team like Garden City, I'm really proud of them."
Jackson scored Cloud County's last points with 3:32 remaining to make it a three-point deficit again at 68-65.
Unfortunately for the T-Birds, they were unable to sustain that offensive flow over the final few minutes. Each team went scoreless over the next 2-minutes, 42 seconds of game action until Garden City's Jamir Thomas broke the ice on a mid-range jumper with 50 seconds remaining.
"That stretch hurt a little extra because we had called some set plays and executed those sets, but just couldn't get the shots to fall," Altman said.
With the T-Birds forced into desperation mode, the Broncbusters were able to salt the game away at the free-throw line to hold on for the 73-65 final.
Freshman JaVary Christmas was the third T-Bird in double-figures as he led the Cloud County guards with 12 points.
Cloud County as a team shot 33 percent from the floor on Saturday as was 3-of-17 from 3-point range.
Altman said, as the T-Birds move forward into next week's home games against Butler and Barton, it will be important for Cloud County to find balance and consistency between its forwards and guards.
"It seems like we just can't get both our units to play well on the same night," Altman said. "We've had games this season where our guards have shot the ball very well and we struggled to get our posts involved. (Saturday), we did a great job of getting the ball to our posts and continually going to them. But, unfortunately, we struggled to make shots and that was probably the difference in the game."