Buffs play better than record indicates: beat St. Stephens, fall to BH, Big Piney

Marlys Good

“We had a good weekend, even if the scores don’t show it,” said Jeff Hunt, coach of the Lady Buff hoop team. The Buffs competed in the Foothills Classic in Ethete, home of Wyoming Indian, and Pavilion, home of Wind River.

“We were missing a few girls and played through it with small numbers. Our goals for the weekend were to be more aggressive on offense and win the rebounding margin by 10 every game,” Hunt added. Hunt said the team did a great job considering the team was missing two varsity players in the first two games and four players in the last game. Those are big odds to overcome.

The Buffs faced St. Stephens in the opener. They got a slow start and had trouble finishing. “We missed a lot of open opportunities early and didn’t finish well in the first quarter.”

Action picked up in the second quarter. Shots started falling. “We shot much better and finished around the basket.”

Kennedy Craft played well, finishing with her first double-double: 22 points and 13 rebounds. ”She shot the ball very well and the other players did a great job getting her open shots. We penetrated well and kicked it out to her.”

Hunt also had praise for Chaise Benasky, who “did a great job rebounding and played great defense.” Benasky ended the game with 10 rebounds and eight deflections which made it difficult for St. Stephens to do anything  on offense.

The Buffs outscored St. Stephens 16-4 in the second quarter to go up 22-17. Despite getting outscored  13-8 in the third quarter, Greybull caught fire again in the fourth quarter, scored 18 points and won the game, 48-38.

The next opponent for the Greybull team was Big Horn. And the Lady Rams took full advantage of it.  “They jumped out to a 7-0 before we woke up,” Hunt said.  Despite the slow start, the Buffs made it a close contest the rest of the way. Down 17-12 at the halfway mark, the Buffs came alive in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Rams, 17-8. “We were more patient on offense and got the shots we wanted.” However, in the final quarter, Hunt said Big Horn did a good job of adjusting. “We had plenty of chances, we just couldn’t capitalize on them. We missed a shot with about 15 seconds left to take a two-point lead.” However, Hunt said the Big Horn coach called a time out, drew up a play and the Lady Rams put up the winning shot at the final buzzer. The Lady Rams won the hard-fought battle, 38-36.

The Buffs final game of the tournament pitted them against the Lady Punchers from Big Piney Saturday. Already absent some players, two Buffs were injured in the Big Horn game, so to say the Buffs were short was an understatement. Hunt had four guards on the floor, and Big Piney pressed them for the biggest share of the game. “We just ran out of gas,” Hunt explained.

But even short-handed, Greybull gave the best they had. They lost the battle, 46-34.

Hunt said his Buffs “are getting so much better and the girls are starting to gain a lot of confidence, which was our goal going into the break. Now we can focus on who we want to be and start playing more as a team.”

He said his athletes had had to overcome a lot in just the first two weeks. “We are going to be tough down the stretch.”  

The team will have two weeks to rest up and heal; two weeks to get in a few practices, shore up any weaknesses; get stronger as a team, and be ready to get back in action on Friday, Jan 6 when they host the Wyoming Indian. It should be a good test for the Buffs.

Saturday, Jan. 7, the Buffs head south for a rematch with St. Stephens