By Jerry Holsworth - firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- In a game marked by aggressive, fast-paced basketball that was at times also ugly, Buffalo Gap surged ahead late in the fourth quarter and held on to defeat Central 50-47 on Friday in Shenandoah District girls basketball.
"That was a tough game," Buffalo Gap coach Chad Coffey said. "It was a lot like watching a track meet. Both teams really moved the ball up and down the floor. It must have been a real exciting game to watch for the fans."
From the Falcons' perspective, it was anything but an exciting game to watch.
"We just didn't do the things that we needed to do to win the game," Central coach Stephanie Mathews said. "We didn't play well fundamentally and we had too many turnovers. You're not going to win many games playing like we did tonight."
The Falcons looked like they were going to run away with the victory early in the contest. After the Bison scored the first bucket of the game, Central exploded for a 10-0 run over the next five minutes of play, leaving Buffalo Gap trailing 10-2 with 2:47 left in the opening quarter.
"We played 12 games, and we've started that slowly in all of them," Coffey said. "I really wasn't that concerned."
Theresa Barela led the way for the Falcons, scoring all six of her points in the first period.
With the Falcons leading 10-5 after the first eight minutes of play, the game took on a decidedly faster pace. It was something that the taller Falcons just never seemed to manage. Turnovers were prevalent on both sides, but the ones Central made seemed to do the most damage.
The Falcons were only able to manage two field goal attempts in the first three minutes of the second quarter, and committed four turnovers over the same time span. The result was a 9-0 run by the Bison to begin the period. With 4:51 left in the first half Bison guard Holly Morgan nailed a 15-foot jumper to give Buffalo Gap its first lead of the game, 14-13.
From that moment until the end of the game, it was a see-saw battle with neither side able to get any separation.
Through those tense, fast-paced moments, it was Morgan who made the difference. The four-year starter helped keep the Bison turnovers to a minimum, and made key baskets for Buffalo Gap when it seemed to need it the most.
"Holly is a four-year starter for us, and this game was an example of the kind of leadership she brings to this team," Coffey said. "She does a tremendous job of helping our younger players stay calm. When we really need a spark, she is always the one to give it to us."
Morgan finished the night with a game-high 20 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. But it was her seven fourth-quarter points that helped the Bison pull away for good.
With Central leading 40-37 with 5:42 left in the game, Morgan scored on her second 3-pointer of the night to tie the game 40-40. Then, with the Bison holding a 46-45 edge with 2:25 left, Morgan again came through with a key bucket to expand the lead to 48-45. The Falcons never recovered.
As big a factor as Morgan was, Central's turnover problems made it difficult to get into any offensive rhythm. The Falcons had 30 turnovers for the night.
"They really stepped up the intensity in the second half," Mathews said. "We just didn't respond. We never attacked them back. We just set back and let them take over the game."
Besides Morgan, Lauren Lacey scored in double figures for Buffalo Gap with 12 points. Rebecca Sigler led the Falcons with 12 points. Kasey McDonald and Jensen Hoover had eight points each for Central.