By Dana Harding
Spokane, MO — There’s hot … and then there’s Casey Wallace hot.
The Spokane junior connected on four of her five 3-pointers in the first quarter Thursday night, as the Lady Owls surged past Buffalo 75-26.
Spokane shot a blistering 83 percent from the perimeter in the opening frame, with Wallace and Kaylee Armitage leading the charge. Wallace’s 22 points led all scorers.
Spokane head coach Doug Hepler praised his floor general’s growing ability to break down defenses from multiple angles.
“[Casey] has really developed a lot of her game,” Hepler said. “All her points were from the outside, and she’s learning how to get out there, run the floor and get something going to the hoop as well. It’s a combination of a lot of things, and she’s become a dual threat that way.”
While Wallace’s myriad of offensive weapons are paying big dividends this season, Spokane’s depth and experience have been its calling card.
“When we’ve got as many girls on the team as we do that are able to handle the ball and score, it makes it a little harder for teams to just key on one person,” Hepler said. “You know Casey, when they’ve left her, she’s made them pay.”
After watching the first quarter, that might even be an understatement.
Working quickly and with brutal effectiveness, Wallace scored 14 in the quarter to help push Spokane to an early 23-7 lead.
“[Attacking the basket] helps me get a lot more open shots,” Wallace said. “If I can drive and improve my game that way, then they’ll want to play me quicker, and that gives me that open shot.”
Taylor Riott and Shasta Turnbough joined Wallace in double figures for the Lady Owls with 12 and 10, respectively.
For Buffalo, the game illustrated the difference between a deep, experienced squad and one still learning the varsity ropes, for the most part.
Lady Bison head coach Tom Stokes warned his young team of the rough scheduling stretch ahead. Following the visit to Spokane, Buffalo faces Skyline, Glendale and the highly-competitive Pink & White Tournament in the coming weeks.
“I told them going into tonight, it starts the buzzsaw,” Stokes said. “It’s going to be a growing-up experience real quickly for these young girls.”
Courtney Austin led Buffalo with 10 points.
Up next for Spokane (5-0) is a Dec. 12 clash with Blue Eye. Buffalo (3-3) hosts Skyline Dec. 13.
Varsity final: Spokane – 75, Buffalo – 26
Spokane 23 18 24 10 — 75
Buffalo 7 8 9 2 — 26
Spokane scoring: Casey Wallace – 22, Taylor Riott – 12, Shasta Turnbough – 10, Kaylee Armitage – 9, Zabryna Hodges – 5, Paige Tate – 5, Lydia Davis – 4, Lacee Kootz – 4, Rachelle McMurray – 2, Josie Jordan – 2
Buffalo scoring: Courtney Austin – 10, Bethany Lancaster – 7, Maddie Jacobs – 6, Ayla Pope – 2, Emilee Todd – 1
JV final: Spokane – 31, Buffalo – 26