BUFFALO GAP — Weary Wilson Memorial got the train back on the tracks Tuesday night thanks to a scrappy 50-45 victory over the Buffalo Gap Bison in Shenandoah District girls basketball.
Wilson scored the game’s first six points and never trailed or tied, but they never could put the Bison completely away The Hornets were coming off their first loss of the season 24 hours earlier at Turner Ashby in a game where Wilson was held to a season-low 36 points, while the Knights matched the combined total of the Hornets’ first two opponents with 53.
The game capped a busy four-game, five-night stretch for Wilson (3-1, 2-0) to begin the condensed season, and it showed during stretches where the Hornets looked completely gassed. Believe it or not, but the Hornets have already played one-fourth of their schedule.
Wilson head coach Jackie Bryan was pleased to come away with three victories during the stretch, especially a pair of district wins.
“The girls battled hard,” Bryan said. “They were exhausted. We’ll take an ugly win, especially against a solid team like Gap. We have a saying ‘be happy, not satisfied.’”
For the Bison, it was their second straight defeat to start the year, coming on the heels of Friday’s 59-28 loss to Fort Defiance.
But Bison head coach Phillip Morgan saw a lot of positives despite the setback.
“The girls played hard and did a good job bouncing back from the performance against Fort,” he said.
Gap’s main problems against the Hornets were inconsistent shooting and unforced turnovers. The Bison had the deficit to one, 26-25, with 3:13 left in the third quarter, but couldn’t hit a key basket or made untimely mistakes that allowed Wilson to gain a double-figure lead late in the period. It seemed that every Gap miscue was turned into points on the other end by the opportunistic Hornets.
“We have to get more consistent making our shots and our turnovers came at the most inopportune times,” Morgan said. “You have to give Wilson credit for hitting a shot or getting a turnover when it needed.”
Korinne Baska hit the first basket of the game, and Madison Flint followed with a bucket and added two free throws for the 6-0 lead that the Hornets never relinquished.
Gap (0-2, 0-2) cut the margin to 6-4 on scores from Bailey Talley off a steal and Ryleigh Clark, but Baska had a personal 5-0 spurt, including a 3-pointer, as the Hornets finished the quarter on a 7-2 spurt for a 13-6 advantage.
The Bison tallied the first five points of the second period before Baska started and finished a 6-0 run with field goals as the lead grew to 19-13. Wilson settled for a 21-17 margin at the break.
“I told the girls at the half that lead is not safe with (Amaya) Lucas on the other side,” said Bryan of Gap’s 1,000-point scorer, who had only four first-half points. “She has the ability to take over a game in a heartbeat. She is a great player.”
And right on cue, Lucas hit four free throws that helped the Bison chop the deficit to 26-25 when Kaley Acord hit a short jumper at the 3:13 mark.
But the Hornets responded by going on a 12-3 burst to open their biggest lead of the game to that point at 38-28 with under a minute left in the quarter. Baska hit from downtown to ignite the surge, while two consecutive Bison turnovers led to Ashley Morani’s three-point play and Flint’s driving layup that cap the run.
Gap managed to trail 38-31 going to the final eight minutes, but the Hornets twice built 11-point leads, the last 47-36 with 3:24 left after a Brooke Cason basket.
The Bison made things interesting in the final minute when back-to-back Lucas scores sliced the margin to 49-45 with 19.1 seconds left, they never got any closer.
“I was pleased with our overall effort,” Morgan said. “We are coming along. We need that first win to really build the confidence.”
Baska led three Hornets in double figures with 16 points, while Flint added 13 and Morani 10. Morani also grabbed nine rebounds.
Lucas finished with a game-high 17 points and Shea Ostrander tallied 15, including four 3-pointers.
“We didn’t get out on Ostrander like we should have, and she hurt us,” Bryan said.
Wilson takes a much-needed break before returning to action Friday at Staunton, while the Bison travel to rival Riverheads.
Wilson captured the jayvee contest 26-17 behind CC Robinson’s 14 points. Karah Richie paced the Bison with five.
WILSON MEMORIAL 50, BUFFALO GAP 45
WILSON (50) — Rankin 3 0-0 6, Morani 3 4-6 10, Cason 1 1-2 3, Baska 7 0-0 16, Flint 5 3-4 13, Taylor 0 0-2 0, Frazier 0 2-2 2, Norman, Vess, Stacy, TOTALS 19 9-16 50.
BUFFALO GAP (45) — Ostrander 5 0-0 14, H.Acord 1 0-1 2, Cline 1 0-0 2, Talley 2 0-0 4, K.Acord 1 0-0 2, Lucas 6 5-9 17, Clark 2 0-0 4, Shifflett, Fox, Sherrill, Graham, Bradley, TOTALS 18 5-10 45.
WILSON 13 8 17 12 — 50
BUFFALO GAP 6 11 14 14 — 45