There apparently is something special about playing in The Garden in December for the Garden City High School girls basketball team.
Friday night, the Buffs’ girls put a 51-29 slapdown on the Dumas, Texas, Demonettes in the second day of the Clarion Inn Roundball Classic.
That victory, the second in as many nights, puts the Buffs at 5-0 over the past two Classics, having won all three games in 2016.
And while senior Josie Calzonetti once again led the team in scoring with 22 points, it was her senior teammate, guard Beth Guymon who stole the show, scoring a career-high 19 points.
Guymon sparked the Buffs in what proved to be the critical third quarter, erupting for 11 of her points to help propel her team from a 21-19 lead at the break into a commanding 37-25 advantage heading to the final quarter.
“I think for me, I was just getting more ready with each game I have played,” said Guymon, who was 5 of 9 from the field, including 3 of 6 from behind the arc and was 6 of 7 at the charity stripe. “It was just time to get out there and make a contribution to the team.”
Guymon, who missed her sophomore year after knee surgery, struggled at times her junior year, still recovering from the operation. But now, she seems to be fully recovered, and it showed Friday night.
“I’ve been working hard, and after the first couple of games I was feeling a little antsy,” Guymon said. “Hitting that first basket eased my nerves. I just want to be a key help to the team.”
With a mix of seniors and underclassmen, Guymon said she’s just trying to help her team get acclimated to playing together.
“We’re just now understanding what our roles are,” she said.
Head coach Matt Pfeifer said he thought it was as complete a game as the team has had in his one-plus season as the head coach.
“I thought we played a full four quarters, and thought the defense was especially good,” Pfeifer said.
He was particularly pleased with the defense of Felicity Rodriguez on Dumas’ point guard, Macie Madrano, who did score 10 points, but was 5 of 14 from the field and committed numerous turnovers.
Of Guymon’s performance, Pfeifer was effusive with praise.
“We know she’s a knockdown shooter, and we made better passes to her and got her in rhythm,” Pfeifer said. “As teams start to scout us, we’re gonna have to find other players to score other than Josie.”
Pfeifer was just happy to see his team make progress from the 0-3 start from the Texas tournament a week ago.
“It puts a lot of pressure on you when you start 0-3, and we’ve only got these three games before the break,” Pfeifer said.
Courtney Mild joined Madrano in double figures with 10 points, as well.
The Buffs were flaming from the field, hitting 15-of-26 shots (57.7 percent) and were 17 of 25 at the free-throw line. They won the board battle, too, 32-18, as Josie Calzonetti grabbed eight. Raven Jones had a game-high 10 for the Demonettes.
It’s a good thing that the senior Calzonetti has shown a breadth of scoring avenues, connecting on a three-pointer, a pair of free throws and five deuces, some on driving left-handed mini-hooks.
Holding a 21-19 halftime lead, Calzonetti had scored 15 of her team’s total. A desperation trey at the buzzer by Dumas’ Joanna Trevizo made it a two-point lead for the Buffs at the break.
The Buffs never trailed in the opening 16 minutes, with their biggest advantage coming at 18-12 with just under 2:30 remaining before the break.
Courtney Mild topped the Demonettes scoring at the break with eight points, including a pair of behind-the-arc shots. The Texas squad committed eight turnovers to 10 for the Buffs.
In Saturday’s wrap-up session to the Classic, Dumas will take on Pueblo Centennial in the opening 11 a.m. contest at The Garden while the Buffs will take on Scott City in the 4:15 p.m. battle.