Late FTs seal comeback win over Wind River

Marlys Good

The Rocky Mountain Lady Grizzlies proved to be too much for the Lady Buffs to handle when the two teams met in Cowley in the first conference game of the season. The Grizzlies took a quick first quarter lead and went on to claim the 50-16 victory.

The Lady Buffs were in the friendly confines of their home gym Saturday and they took advantage of that to score a victory over the Lady Cougars from Wind River, 48-47.  It was an exciting climax to a game that looked impossible to win in the early going. But, as Coach Jeff Hunt has often said, there is “no quit” in his team.

Looking first at Saturday’s home win, Hunt said, “We didn’t look much better at the start of this game (than we did against RM). We came out very slow and Wind River was ready to play. They jumped to a 9-0 lead in the first few minutes.”

The Buffs couldn’t get anything going offensively and were slow on defense, Hunt said. At the end of the first quarter, the Buffs found themselves on the down side of 23-6 on the scoreboard. Wind River extended the lead to 19 points. It didn’t look good for the Buffs. 

But things started to pick up in the second quarter. “We started to break their press and get our half-court offense going. We decided to press more.” By halftime the Buffs had whittled the score to 36-20.

The Buffs stepped up big time in the second half. “We pressed them and did a great job rebounding.” As a result, the Cougars scored just one point in the third quarter. Junior Kennedy Craft got hot in the second half and hit three 3-pointers. 

Hunt said his Buffs had several chances to win the game in regulation, but didn’t get it done.

“We didn’t hit our free throws,” he explained

But when it came down to it, sophomore Ashtyn Chapman came through for the Buffs. She went three for four at the line and sealed the deal for the Buffs. 

“This was a great win for us. We showed that we can play through adversity. Not many teams can come from 19 points down. I was so proud of our second effort and the fact that the girls never quit.”

Going back to Rocky Mountain, Hunt said the Buffs were short-handed. Four athletes were out due to injuries so it was downhill from the start. They played several athletes with no varsity experience; three freshmen were sitting varsity – a real learning experience for them. To add to the Buff woes, Craft and Chapman got in foul trouble and senior Kinley Hunt was struggling with a sprained ankle. 

“We didn’t have a lot of experience on the court,” Hunt said. “It made it difficult for us to get any sort of half-court offense.”

The Buffs host Big Horn Thursday at 6 p.m. and Shoshoni Friday at 4 and 5:30 p.m. They travel to Dayton Saturday for noon and 1:30 games with the Tongue River Eagles.