May 21, 2024

Buffaloes comeback falls short vs. Andover Central


Newton, KS ( City Coach Matt Pfeifer wanted to see how his team responded the day after a crushing, 32-point defeat at the hands of top-ranked Newton on Thursday.

Less than 24 hours later, the Buffaloes were up to the challenge that No. 9 Andover Central presented them. However the end was result, though not a blowout, was the same.

Ryann Stearns led the way with a game-high 18 points, Jewell Bolden drilled three 3-pointers, and the Jaguars held off a second-half surge from Garden City to beat the Buffaloes 42-37 in the consolation semifinals of the 41st annual Newton Invitational at Ravenscroft Gymnasium.

“I thought our effort was very good,” Pfeifer said afterwards. “We just had a problem hitting shots again.”

Or scoring for that matter. It took Garden City more than two minutes to scratch in the first quarter, and nearly five to get their first field goal to fall. Yet, their defense kept them in it, and after Josie Calzonetti buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key, the Buffaloes trailed 8-7 after one.

“We played our game, and ran our offense,” Pfeifer said. “We just didn’t hit shots. But I wasn’t upset at all because they got wide-open looks.”

Nothing went Garden City’s (3-10, 0-3) way in the second quarter. The Buffaloes missed seven of their nine shots and turned it over five times. Meantime Bolden heated up for Andover Central (8-4, 5-1), connecting on three straight triples while scoring her team’s final 10 points of the half. The Jaguars stormed into the locker room on a 7-0 run for a 22-11 advantage.

“I’m proud of how we responded in the second half,” Pfeifer said. “We played really well after the half.”

The Buffaloes flipped the script in the third quarter. Alyssa Long opened the period by hitting a 3-pointer. Then, after a Kyra-Bellows layup, Dart splashed home back-to-back long balls to pull Garden City to within five. They eventually cut the deficit to two heading into the fourth after outscoring the Jaguars 18-9 in the frame.

“We gave ourselves a chance,” Pfeifer said. “I will never blame a kid for missing shots. It happens.”

Dart, who was playing in her second straight game after missing the previous five with a stress fracture in her leg, opened the fourth by canning two freebies. In the final minute, the senior guard made a spectacular move to the rim that pulled her team to within two 37-35.

“Abbie played well,” Pfeifer said. “She started to find her groove in the second half, and she used her shot fake really well.”

Dart had two chances in the final 30 seconds to tie or give her team the lead. The first was a misfire on a 3-pointer from the top that Bellows followed back up with a layup to make it a one-point contest. Her second opportunity came with 10 seconds to go and her team down three. But Beth Schulte contested her step back triple, which ended up falling a foot short.

“We got the look, we just didn’t knock it down,” Pfeifer said. “But we learned a lot of things about ourselves. Nobody quit. They responded really well today.”

Dart finished with 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting for Garden City, who dropped their seventh straight game. Bellows added eight points and 11 rebounds.

Bolden scored 12 points to help Andover Central snap a two-game skid.

Notes: Andover Central improved to 4-0 lifetime vs. Garden City…The Buffaloes shot less than 30 percent for the second straight game—12-of-41 (29 percent)…After turning the ball over 15 times in the first half, Garden City cleaned things up over the final 16 minutes-giving it away only four times

Next up: Garden City vs. Kapaun Mt. Carmel-Saturday, January 28-12:45 p.m. pregame; 1 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; and KWKR mobile app