May 27, 2024

Buffalo girls end skid in O

Photos by Adam Shrimplin

Garden City, KS-Over the last two weeks, the Buffaloes struggled to find any consistency, shooting 28 percent from the field and turning it over a combined 76 times while averaging just 28 points over their last three games.

Something had to change.

“We need to be more consistent,” Head Coach Matt Pfeifer said before Tuesday night’s game.

It also helped that for the first time in 2018, the Buffalo offense sprung to life.

Beth Guymon finished with 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, her team turned it over a season-low 13 times, and Garden City ended a three-game skid with a 42-40 overtime victory over Ulysses.

“That was fun; it felt good for a change to be on the right side,” Pfeifer said.

It may have been fun, but the Buffaloes had to win the game twice in the second half.

After watching their halftime lead disintegrate in the third quarter, Garden City (4-6, 0-3) put the clamps on, holding Ulysses (7-4, 3-2) scoreless the final 4:58 of the period while scoring 10 straight points to take a 33-25 edge into the fourth quarter.

“I thought we looked more comfortable on offense tonight,” Pfeifer said. “We were able to slow the game down.”

But the Tigers, who were off to their best start in more than 15 years, stormed back in the final stanza. Gina Ballesteros, who slogged her way through a 3-of-16 shooting night, stole the ball from Annie Gerber, raced to the other end and knocked down a turnaround in the paint. Riley Oglevie added a free throw, Ballesteros drained four freebies in a two-minute stretch and Luz Gomez grabbed an offensive rebound that she spun back through the net to give Ulysses a 34-33 lead with 1:25 remaining.

“We have to figure out ways where we don’t go stretches without scoring,” said Pfeifer, whose team managed just three points in the fourth.”

The Tigers’ edge did not last long once Josie Calzonetti split two free throws to tie the game at 34. But with less than 30 seconds remaining, Gomez put Ulysses back on top with a jumper inside the paint.

“We did the little things tonight; something we hadn’t done the last few games,” Pfeifer said.

Once Gomez scored, Gerber answered for Garden City, draining a 17-foot jumper from the right wing, tying the game at 36.

“Annie played really well for us tonight,” Pfeifer said. “I always watch Charles Barkley on television talking about how the others need to step up. Well our others stepped up tonight.”

Ulysses still had a chance to win it in regulation, but Ballesteros’ 3-pointer from the right wing clanged off the back iron, sending the game into overtime.

After the tigers scored first in the extra session on Madison Haney’s put back, Garden City took command. Guymon calmly sank two free throws to tie it; then Felicity Rodriguez nailed a floater from the right elbow that gave the Buffaloes the lead for good.

“I had a feeling we didn’t turn the ball over a lot, but I was surprised when I saw the final total,” Pfeifer said. “That was obviously a big difference.”

Pfeifer also could see a difference with how his team started the game. After Oglevie put the Tigers up 2-0 with a layup, Garden City soared back with an 8-0 run to take a six-point advantage. In the second quarter, Guymon nailed two 3-pointers; Calzonetti added one, and the Buffaloes had a four-point edge at the half.

“I’m glad we found a way to win this game,” Pfeifer said. “Now we have some time off to get right before going to Newton.”

Garden City won the game despite being outrebounded 45-24. Ulysses tied a season-high with 23 offensive boards.

“That’s not the stat I wanted to hear tonight,” Pfeifer said with a smile.”

Tabor scored a season-high six points for Garden City, who beat the Tigers for the 11th time in their last 14 games. Gerber also tallied a season-best six points.

Ballesteros netted 12 points to pace Ulysses, who lost for the third time in their last four games. Oglevie had nine and pulled down a season-high 16 rebounds.