When the Garden City Buffaloes girls basketball team headed south to the Canyon, Texas, Tournament of Champions for a two-day, three-game season-opening weekend, head coach Matt Pfeifer knew it was going to be a tough road for his youthful squad.
And it certainly proved to be every part of that, as the Buffs came up winless in the three outings against Texas teams that had been playing games for nearly a month.
The last of the three losses came Saturday morning in the seventh-place contest against Wall, Texas, with the Lady Hawks knocking off the Buffs 39-26. That came on the heels of two Friday losses by the Buffs, the first to two-time defending Class 5A champion Canyon 68-20 and a 56-38 setback to Abilene Wylie.
For Pfeifer, the three game buzzsaw offered him a chance to see how his youthful squad would respond to playing such a high level of competition so early.
“I liked the resiliency of the girls by how they responded to coming off two games against really good teams,” Pfeifer said Sunday. “I wanted to see how they would play in different settings, with different lineups, and I think we learned a lot about the things we need to work on to get better.”
In Saturday’s tourney wrap-up game, senior Josie Calzonetti continued her double-figure scoring by dropping in 17 points, including a pair of 3-pointers and going 3 of 4 at the free throw line.
“I thought she also rebounded well and scored, considering she has a lot on her shoulders with being counted on for so much responsibility,” Pfeifer said of the 5-10 senior forward.
Beth Guymon and Julie Calzonetti contributed four points each, and Annie Gerber a free throw as the Buffs struggled to score against Wall.
“We’re going to have to find others to step up and provide some scoring help,” Pfeifer said. “We had a number of the girls make freshman-type mistakes because they were playing their first varsity games. They are things we can live with early, but we’ll have to start correcting those things fast.”
Turnovers also plagued the Buffs, similar to what transpired a year ago in Pfeifer’s first season at the helm.
“A lot of our problems were self-inflicted,” Pfeifer said of the team’s miscues. “Our decision-making, valuing a possession was a real struggle, and how to take care of the ball better.”
And yet despite going 0-3, Pfeifer said the Texas trip will serve his team well down the road.
“We’ll see more of the teams at a level that we’re used to come this week and the remainder of the season,” Pfeifer said. “We saw three very good teams, especially the Canyon team.”
The Buffs will have the first part of the week to practice in preparation for the Clarion Inn Roundball Classic, which begins Thursday at The Garden. Up first for the Buffs in the three-day event will be a 6 p.m. game against Wichita Trinity. Friday and Saturday match-ups will be against Dumas, Texas, and Scott City, with tip-offs for those games at 6 p.m. Friday and 4:15 p.m. Saturday, when all games will be played in the two gyms at GCHS.
Contact Brett Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.