Opening night at the Garden was a very good one for the Buffaloes as the Garden City High School girls took a 59-50 win over visiting Guymon.
And they did it in a fashion they’ve been working towards for the past few years, significantly more points than turnovers, and good shooting.
Guymon pulled to with seven points on a Johanna Quintero trey (57-50) with 42 seconds to play to make things close, but as they did much of the night, the Buffaloes answered with a positive to open the season in good fashion.
Julie Calzonetti led the Buffs with 18 points (15 in the second half) and Taryn Tabor had 14 (10 in the opening quarter).
Garden City got off to a 6-3 start after the opening four minutes and then scored 10 straight points in a three-minute spurt and had an 18-13 lead at the first break.
Taryn Tabor scored 10 of her team’s 18 in that span as the Buffs converted 8 of 14 field goals.
Garden City scored a field goal a minute into the second period but went nearly five minutes before sinking their next.
The Tigers crept back to with a point (22-21) midway into the period and again to close out the half, down 28-27.
But coach Matt Pfeifer had to pleased with his team’s turnovers—or lack of; they committed just five in the first half, forcing Guymon into 10.
The Buffs opened the second half with a 5-0 spurt to open things up a bit, and with both teams finding the buckets scarce much of the period, they managed to hold a 45-34 lead heading into the final period, thanks in part to Calzonetti’s layup and trey to close out the period.
The sophomore scored four of her team’s next six points as the Buffs increased the lead to 51-39 with just under five minutes to play.
A late surge by the Tigers cut the lead to 11 before Calzonetti scored her sixth points of the quarter with just over two minutes to play.
Leading scorer for Guymon was Meagan Bellar with 19, including seven field goals and 5 of 6 from the line.
She also had seven rebounds, with Maggie Landes leading with nine as the Tigers out-rebounded the Buffs 32-25.
But the Buffs had just 11 turnovers to Guymon’s 18 in a game that Pfeifer felt good about overall.
“I know that we emphasized valuing the basketball. We came out in the first quarter and shot it with confidence, which is always good,” he said.
Calzonetti’s performance in the second half was not unexpected, either.
“We draw up inbounds plays for her and tell everybody on our team but especially Julie to be looking shot-shot-shot every time they catch the ball,” Pfeifer said. “It showed tonight.”
Guymon’s comeback attempts, countered by the Buff’s responses, also felt good, he added.
“Before the game, we tell the kids that something bad is going to happen, and it’s how they respond to it that matters,” he said. “Every sporting event, something’s not going to go your way, and we wanted to find out how you’re going to respond and are you going to make things right.”
Make things right they did, especially with how his team continued to go to the basket.
“We preach having confidence, and we didn’t think (Guymon) could guard us off the dribble,” Pfeifer said. “I think they saw it a couple of times and started believing in it and just started believing in it.”
Calzonetti, just a sophomore, had only three points in the first half, but she made up for it.
With a goal of trying to average 10 points a game, she knew she had the ability to make something happen.
“I got really frustrated with myself. I knew I had to make a decision at halftime and it was either going to have a positive impact on the team, or a negative,” she said. “Good thing it came out on the positive.”
She also had 10 rebounds to lead her team.
Garden City will now go into next week’s Roundball Classic feeling good, Pfeifer said.
“The past two years we’ve gone in 0-3 prior to the Classic and you try to play to get back to .500. Now we come into it with a different mindset, still with the sense of urgency but building on the positives,” he said.