HAYS — By the time the Garden City Lady Buffs basketball team got on the scoreboard, the Newton Lady Railers had already gotten on track with an early 12-0 run to start the semifinal game of the Hays City Shootout on Friday afternoon at Hays High.
That, for all practical purposes, decided the Railers’ 43-30 triumph over the Lady Buffs, sending coach David Upton’s team into today’s 1:30 p.m. third-place game against Great Bend, 46-39 losers in Friday’s late semifinal game against DeSoto.
“Take away the first quarter, and I’m a reasonably happy man,” Upton said of the Buffs’ performance in the final three quarters. “We missed a couple of those early shots, and I think we just lost our confidence.”
By the time Ashlee Richman’s 3-pointer broke the scoring drought for the Lady Buffs, there was only 17 seconds left in the fateful first quarter. It was 14-3 when the buzzer sounded, ending a quarter of futility as the Lady Buffs were just 1 of 8 from the field.
After the Lady Buffs made a brief run at the Lady Railers to start the second quarter, closing to 16-11, Newton took off again, extending its lead to 26-11 and doubling the Lady Buffs’ score, 28-14, when halftime arrived.
“We spotted them the 12, and then played them pretty much even the rest of the way,” Upton said, trying to find a silver lining on a day when things didn’t go well on the shooting end of the floor.
The lead for the preseason Class 5A No. 8-ranked Newton never went under 11 in the second half, the Buffs getting as close as 29-18 in the third quarter. In the fourth, the Lady Railers rebuilt the lead to as many as 18, 38-20. From there, it was a matter of seeing the clock run down.
Upton bemoaned the game’s start, especially considering that the game was played on nearly even terms the final 24 minutes.
“You can’t put goose eggs up and expect good things to happen,” Upton said of the woeful beginning. “You’ve got to find ways to put the ball in the hole.”
And while the double-digit loss didn’t look particularly good, the fact the Lady Buffs could endure such a performance and still be within a dozen points said volumes about the battle they mounted against the Lady Railers.
Newton’s leading scorer, Taylor Stahly, was limited to 10 points as the box-and-1 defense employed by Upton kept her from a big scoring night.
But Stahly’s teammates picked up just enough of the scoring slack, as Jana Boston finished with 14 points to pace the Lady Railers. No Lady Buff player reached double figures as Jessica Carrillo and Breece Dreiling each scored six points for Garden.
It was a full court press employed by the Lady Buffs that kept them within striking distance in the second half, and Upton said perhaps he should have implemented it earlier.
“We weren’t gonna let Stahly beat us, and then I thought our press worked pretty well against them,” Upton said.
But one thing that did put a big dent in the potential comeback was Newton’s efficiency at the free-throw line, where the Lady Railers were 20 of 25 compared to 8 of 9 for the Lady Buffs.
“One thing I want some of the girls to know is that they have the green light to shoot, because they shoot it well in practice,” Upton said.
On the other hand, the Lady Buffs were an icy 10 of 41 from the field for 24.4 percent, and just 2 of 13 from 3-point range (15.3 percent). Garden committed 16 turnovers to 14 for Newton while the Lady Railers won the rebounding battle 34-28. Stahly and Sarah Bartel led Newton with eight each and Dreiling had eight for the Lady Buffs.
Newton (2-0) — Bery 1-1 0-0 2, Boston 4-8 6-6 14, Valdez 0-1 0-0 0, Stahly 3-5 3-4 10, Bartel 1-6 3-4 5, Schmidt 0-2 2-2 2, Roberts 1-8 3-4 5, Akers 1-3 3-5 5. Totals 11-34 20-25 43.
Garden City (1-1) — Ashlock 0-1 2-2 2, Munoz 1-2 0-0 3, Dart 3-14 0-0 6, Hinde 0-2 0-0 0, Flowers 0-2 0-0 0, Longoria 0-1 0-0 0, Richman 1-3 0-0 3, B. Elliott 0-3 0-0 0, Carrillo 2-5 2-2 6, A. Elliott 1-3 2-3 4. Totals 10-41 8-9 30.
Newton 14 14 6 9 — 43
Garden City 3 11 4 12 — 30
3-point goals—Newton 1-5 (Boston 0-3, Stahly 1-1, Bartel 0-1), Garden City 2-13 (Ashlock 0-1, Munoz 1-1, Dart 0-3, Hinde 0-1, Flowers 0-1, Longoria 0-1, Richman 1-2, B. Elliott 0-1, Dreiling 0-2). Rebounds—Newton 34 (Stahly, Bartel 8 each), Garden City 28 (Dreiling 8). Turnovers—Newton 14, Garden City 16. Fouls—Newton 17, Garden City 23. Fouled out—none.