Garden City High School’s girls basketball team had victory in hand with a four-point lead with 1:30 left in the game, but managed just one point over the final 90 seconds, falling to the Guymon (Okla.) Tigers, 47-45, at Guymon Friday night.
Guymon had four big free throws and a basket over the closing minute, following three missed free throws by Taryn Tabor down the stretch.
The loss dropped the Buffs’ season record to 4-11 and extended their losing streak to five games. They will be back on the road Tuesday with a 6:30 p.m. game at Hugoton, before returning home on Friday to host Great Bend in a Western Athletic Conference contest.
The loss was a tough pill to swallow for the Buffs and coach Matt Pfeifer, who saw his team build a nearly double-figure lead in the first half, then fell behind before rallying to take the late lead.
But the necessary big plays to capture the win didn’t materialize.
“We didn’t guard the dribble, and they got easy shots at the end,” Pfeifer said. “We missed too many free throws (12 of 22) and those are the ultimate reasons for the loss.”
Down four, 37-33, at the 5:50 mark of the fourth, the Buffs got a pair of big 3-point baskets from Keyhana Turner and Annie Gerber to regain the lead.
Guymon took the lead back at 40-39, before the Buffs got their mini, five-point run to take their final lead. Turner made one charity, Felicity Rodriguez drove in for a layup and Beth Guymon knocked down two free throws at 1:30.
Joanna Quintero then hit a driving layup, before Megan Buller drained two freebies and Quintero finished off the late 5-0 run with a charity at 0:11.
The Buffs’ shot at tying or winning the game went for naught as an inbounds pass to Josie Calzonetti into the backcourt resulted in the 5-10 senior not even getting a shot off before the final buzzer sounded.
The 45 points was the highest output for the Buffs in sometime, balanced out with 22 points in the first half and 23 in the second. But it wasn’t enough.
“Again, we didn’t play smart and our situational plays we didn’t do what we needed to do,” Pfeifer said.
Rodriguez had a team-high 11 points and Josie Calzonetti added 10 for the Buffs.
Beller topped the Tigers’ scoring with a game-high18 points and added 11 rebounds for a double-double. Bishop contributed 14 points for the winning effort.
Despite the loss, Pfeifer was encouraged with some extra signs of offense as seven different players scored.
“Our role players did a good job and they realize that plays are going to have to be made if we’re going to win games,” Pfeifer said.
After struggling in the previous few games on offense, the Buffs got some balanced scoring in that first-half output of 22 points, with six different players breaking into the scoring column.
The Buffs scored nine straight points after an early 3-pointer by Guymon’s Alexis Bishop. They finished the first quarter up by two, 9-7.
An 8-1 run to begin the second lifted the Buffs to a 17-8 lead at the midway point of the second. That 9-point advantage was the biggest of the opening half.
The Tigers got a big trey from leading scorer Megan Beller and then a huge 3-point play on free throws by Bishop to cut into the Buffs’ advantage.
A 6-3 mini-run to end the first half left the Buffs up by five, 22-17, at the intermission.
Josie Calzonetti netted seven points to lead the Buffs at the break, but Julie Calzonetti and Taryn Tabor had four each. Annie Gerber, Keyhana Turner and Felicity Rodriguez contributed a bucket apiece.
Bishop had six and Beller five to pace the Tigers in the first half.
Turnovers were in favor of the Buffs, as they forced the Tigers into nine miscues to just six for the Buffs.
On the shooting side of stats, the Buffs were 9 of 23 from the field (39 percent) while limiting the Tigers to just 4 of 19 shooting (21 percent).