By Don Eskins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Buffalo girls came into Monday’s matchup with Skyline searching for a signature win, which would be its second of the year.
The Lady Bison, buoyed by Courtney Austin’s 24 points, picked up that win 74-67. They handed Skyline its first loss of the season in the process.
“This was definitely our biggest win of the year. Anytime you can beat a quality team like Skyline you have to feel good about what you’re doing,” said Buffalo Bison head coach Tom Stokes. “I’m so proud of all of our girls for the efforts they put out on the floor tonight to pick up this win.”
“This was a great win for us,” Maddie Jacobs said. “I just hope tonight’s victory helps us get back on track as we head on to this year’s Pink and White Tournament.”
Both the Bison and Tigers traded baskets throughout the first two quarters of play and took the half-time break tied up at 31-31.
Austin kept Buffalo close, during the game’s first 16 minutes of play, by dropping in 11 of her team high twenty-four points in the first half. Lilly Whitten with eleven and Autumn Garret with nine paced the Tigers.
But second half play belonged to the Bison. Buffalo outscored Skyline 15-10 in the third period and 28-26 in the fourth to pick up the 74-67 victory.
Buffalo senior Allie Maddux dropped in eight points, Austin and Maddie Jacobs seven and Emily Rice six to account for the Bison’s 28 points in the fourth and deciding frame.
However the Bison, who played aggressively on both ends of the court throughout the contest, had to step up big in the game’s final quarter of play to preserve the win.
Entering the final frame up 46-41, Buffalo, after having pushed their lead up to as many as ten points in the fourth quarter, watched a game Skyline come roaring back to within two. But the Lady Bison refused to break.
“Their effort in the fourth period was terrific,” Stokes said. “After watching their 10-point lead dwindle to just two during the game’s final two minutes, and then regrouping to hold on for the win, was very impressive.”
“It was kind of crazy. We were pumped up for third period play but somehow we just kind of lost it during the fourth,” said Courtney Austin. “But we made a couple of big plays at critical times in the fourth period and it got us going again.”
“It was such an exciting game and both teams played really great,” added Allie Maddux. “I’m just so proud of us all for the way we held together when we needed each other the most.”
Playing a key role in the Bison win was their efficiency at the free throw line. Buffalo hit 76% of their charity tosses making good on twenty eight of thirty-seven attempts.
Leading the Lady Bison offensively were: Courtney Austin- 24, Emily Rice- 15, Allie Maddux- 15, Maddie Jacobs- 10, Madison Andrews and Bethany Lancaster- 5.
Scoring for the Tigers were: Lilly Whitten- 28, Autumn Garrett- 23, Miranda Quennoz and Justine Barb- 6, Keelie Holmes and Jadyn Foster- 2.
Up next: On Friday, December 14, the Lady Bison will host Butler. Skyline will participate in the Weaubleau Shootout Tournament on Saturday December 15.
Skyline 13 18 10 26 67
Buffalo 14 17 15 28 74