If the Garden City Buffaloes girls basketball team was looking for some reversal of fortune after a slow start to the new year, Friday’s Western Athletic Conference home game with league-leading Hays was going to be a tough place to start.
Too tough, as the No. 7-ranked Class 4A-I Indians throttled the Buffs, 54-30, at The Garden.
The loss dropped the Buffs to 3-6 overall and 0-3 in the WAC, extending their 2018 losing streak to three games in a matter of eight days. Hays, meanwhile, improved to 8-1 and 3-0.
It was more of the same miscues that have plagued the Buffs since returning from the holiday break.
Turnovers — 23 of them.
Poor shooting — 10 of 40 (25 percent).
Lack of balanced scoring — only Josie Calzonetti in double figures with 12.
What had early on looked like a Hays runaway at 12-2 after one quarter, became a 25-17 halftime deficit. But that was as close as it would get. A third quarter blitz by the Indians to the tune of 23-2 turned this game into a rout.
“Our key word has been 'consistency,' and as you can see the difference between the first, second and third quarters, we don’t have any (consistency),” Pfeifer said. “When we play good, we’re capable of playing with them, and when we don’t we’re capable of getting blown out.”
In that pivotal third quarter, the Buffs turned the ball over 11 times, and finished at near their season average of 24.
“The turnovers, we just know that’s been a big issue and it’s really frustrating,” Pfeifer said. “It’s a lack of focus. Sometimes, it’s hard to pinpoint.”
Hays, meanwhile, was 19-of-44 shooting for a respectable 43 percent. But the Indians balanced attack saw Savannah Schneider lead the way with 12, followed by Mattie Hutchinson (11) and Tasiah Nunnery (10), respectively. In all, nine Hays players scored.
“The scariest part is you just don’t know where the scoring is coming from,” Pfeifer said of Hays.
It was a sluggish start for the Buffs, although their first bucket of the game came just four seconds in on a speedy layup by Josie Calzonetti off the opening tip.
But scoring would not come that easy for the rest of the game, and that's all they would get for the rest of the opening period. Meanwhile, Tasiah Nunnery hit a pair of 3-pointers midway through the stanza, and that propelled the Indians to a 12-2 at the first break.
Garden’s stagnant offense came to life in the second period, though, scoring 15 points to Hays’ 13 and sliced the deficit to as few as four, 19-15, before the Indians finished with an eight-point advantage, 25-17, at intermission.
Beth Guymon drilled a couple of deep treys in that period to help keep the Buffs within shouting range. Calzonetti mustered a couple of field goals, before Hays ran away for good in the second half.
The Buffs have one more remaining game, a 7 p.m. Tuesday home tip-off against Ulysses, before they head to the always-tough Newton Tournament of Champions, set for Jan. 25 to 27.