QUICKSBURG - Stonewall Jackson has had one rough stretch of basketball in every game this season, and the trend continued on Monday night.
The Generals struggled for a little more than a quarter, and it led to a 58-30 loss to Buffalo Gap in Shenandoah District girls basketball action. It was the regular-season finale for the Generals.
“For some reason, we always have that one little set in the game, where we aren’t playing our basketball,” Stonewall Jackson sophomore point guard Kylene Franklin said. “And I really want us to get to the point where we have four straight quarters of our good basketball. I feel like that we could win if we play our best four quarters.”
The game was competitive for the first six minutes. A driving layup by Franklin cut Buffalo Gap’s lead to 8-6 with 3:38 left in the opening period.
The Bison (6-14, 2-13 Shenandoah) closed the first period on an 11-2 run, including three 3-pointers.
“I thought that the end of the first quarter and the second just killed us,” Stonewall Jackson coach Jeff Burner said. “It’s just a 2-point game with like two minutes left and then all of a sudden they hit three 3-pointers where we didn’t get a contest (on the shots) or anything. And then all of a sudden – boom you’re down 11.”
Things went from bad to worse in the second period. The Bison went on a 5-0 to stretch the lead to 24-9 with 5:18 left in the opening half. Franklin picked up her third foul at that time. Stonewall Jackson’s Alicia Bare scored to cut the lead to 24-11 with 4:22 remaining in the second period.
Franklin, the area’s leading scorer, drove to the basket and made a layup in what appeared to be a chance for a conventional 3-point play. However, Franklin was called for a charge on the play to pick up her fourth foul with 3:46 left in the first half.
“It definitely was tough, but I knew that my team could handle it,” Franklin said of having to come out of the game with four fouls. “And I was just going to be there on the bench supporting them as much as I could.”
The Bison closed the half out with a 7-0 run to take a 31-11 lead into the half.
The Generals (1-20, 1-15 Shenandoah) played better in the second half led by Franklin, who played the whole half without picking up her fifth foul.
“I had to adjust me giving my aggressive help that I normally do because if I did, I had the chance of getting that last foul,” Franklin said. “So I just had to be very careful of how my defense was. I had to move my feet and play my best defense.”
Early in the third period, the Generals cut the lead to 17, 33-16, but that was as close as they would get in the second half.
“We didn’t quit,” Burner said. “We kept fighting. We kept trying to play. And we just got to keep trying to do those little things to get better.”
Stonewall Jackson and Buffalo Gap were tied for eighth in the nine-team Shenandoah District. Only eight teams qualify for the Shenandoah District tournament, which starts Friday, so the loss keeps the Generals out of the tourney.
However, the Generals will still play in the Region 1B tournament in two weeks. The Generals, who are the reigning Region 1B champions, will be the eighth seed and play No. 1 seed and Shenandoah District rival Riverheads in the quarterfinals.
Monday night was senior night for the Generals. Before the game Burner honored all of his players on varsity and junior varsity as well as senior Makayla Stout, who was unable to play this season. She is now the team manager for the squad, which has eight sophomores, one freshman and four juniors. Stout also sang the National Anthem before the game.
Buffalo Gap was led by Amaya Lucas with 17 points. Kyleigh Shifflett had 12 points, and Sydney Digman had 11 for the Bison.
Franklin finished with a game-high 18 points, four rebounds and two steals for the Generals.
The Generals now have two weeks to get ready for the postseason and Franklin said she thinks it can be a positive for the team.
“I think it will be good because we’ll get to work more on our free throws, and running our offense,” Franklin said. “Because some games we haven’t been running our offense. We’ve kind of just been throwing up the balls and not being strong with the ball. And I feel like us having more practice is going to be good for us, as much as I wish we would have got into the district tournament. But I feel like we can play our best basketball when it comes to regionals and go far.”