Garden City High School girls basketball coach Matt Pfeifer knew the season-opening game in the Canyon, Texas, AMA-TechTel Tournament of Champions would be a monumental challenge.
After all, the Buffaloes were taking on the two-time Class 5A Texas state champion Canyon Eagles, who already had played five games.
And true to form, the Buffs had a tough time with the Eagles, eventually falling 68-20 in the quarterfinals of the TOC. That put the Buffs into the consolation bracket, in which they played Abiline Wylie later on Friday.
The Buffs trailed from the outset in the opener, falling behind 19-2 after one quarter, trailing 31-6 at the half, and then 53-10 after three periods.
Josie Calzonetti scored half of the Buffs’ points, finishing with 10 points, including 6-of-6 free throws. Freshman Keyhana Turner added six points to the cause. The Buffs managed just four field goals the entire game, going 12-of-16 at the charity stripe.
The Eagles got scoring from nine different players, with Kenadee Winfrey and Brylee Winfrey leading the way with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Abilene Wylie 56, Garden City 38
The Buffs jumped out to an early 10-2 lead in the opening quarter, before settling for a 14-13 edge at the end of the period. From there, however, it was a struggle for them to keep pace with Wylie.
Still, they were within range at halftime, trailing only 25-19, and were still down by six, 36-30, going into the fourth quarter. But the fourth proved fateful as Wylie went on a 20-8 scoring binge to pull away late.
“The first game today was an eye-opener for us,” head coach Matt Pfeifer said. “They zoned us a little more, and they weren’t as athletic as the Canyon team was. I thought the kids were a little more confident. The game was a lot closer than the score indicates.”
Freshman Keyhana Turner led the Buffs in scoring with 11 points, and Josie Calzonetti matched her first-game outing with 10 points.
The Buffs were slated to tip-off at 9 a.m. Saturday in the seventh-place game against Wall, Texas.