Story and Photos by Rusty Ellis
The Clarkrange Lady Buffaloes had their season ended on Monday in the District 7/A Tournament play-in game against Gordonsville 56-52 in double-overtime.
The Tigerettes defense got Clarkrange out of sorts from the start, as they held the Lady Buffaloes to just nine first-quarter points. On the plus side for CHS, their defense was just as solid and they managed to keep the game tied at nine heading into the second quarter.
Gordonsville came out on fire from three in the second, as they used a 9-0 run to start the frame and build an 18-9 advantage. Clarkrange fought back and managed to cut the lead down to just 20-19 at the break.
Both offenses struggled out of the gate in the third, but Gordonsville managed to keep Clarkrange at arms length and led 33-28 heading into the fourth.
The Lady Buffaloes began finding consistent success there, as several forced turnovers led to a tie game at 40-40 with just over a minute to go. CHS then took over for the final possession, but failed to get a shot off before the horn.
Both teams traded shots back-and-forth in the overtime period before Lauren Choate gave the Lady Buffaloes a 49-46 lead with 8.9 seconds remaining, seemingly putting the game away. Gordonsville wouldn’t go away however, as the Tigerettes hit a three of their own to knot the game and force a second overtime.
It was there that Clarkrange couldn’t overcome their mistakes and Gordonsville claimed a monumental 56-52 win to end the Lady Buffaloes’ season.
“We just put four quarters together and the kids just executed what we were trying to do defensively,” said Gordonsville head coach Jacob Dillard. “We did a great job of getting a rebound and holding them to just one shot in the second half.”
To call it an upset would be an understatement. After all, Gordonsville went 0-8 in the district regular season and Clarkrange topped them both times the teams played. None of that mattered in Monday’s contest, as Dillard says he believes this is a game that fills his team with confidence.
“I think it’ll give them a lot of confidence,” Dillard said. “I thought we could beat Clarkrange, so hopefully going forward it builds their confidence a lot. Confidence is a big-time thing in sports.”
The Buffaloes also saw their season come to an end, this one in 64-33 fashion to Red Boiling Springs.
The offense struggled mightily for CHS in the opening frame, though the defense kept the game from getting too out of hand early. When the first buzzer sounded, the Buffaloes only trailed 12-4.
The second quarter is where the game unraveled, as the Buffaloes were outscored 24-4 and found themselves down 36-8 at the halftime break.
Clarkrange found a little more success on offense in the third quarter, but they couldn’t get the stops they needed on defense so the margin grew to 53-21 heading into the fourth quarter. This allowed RBS to cruise to the finish line and clinch their spot in the region tournament with a 64-33 victory.
“Attention to detail in practice, and I thought we executed our game-plan,” said RBS head coach Andrew Mullinix on how his team got the job done. “I thought we moved the ball the best we have all year, and that’s a good thing heading into tournament time. Defensively, we guarded and did our job, we just executed.”
Getting out on the fastbreak proved to be the difference in the second quarter for the Bulldogs, as that’s what Mullinix says allowed them to break the game open.
“I thought we ran in transition,” Mullinix said. “I think last year, we struggled to get out in transition because we turned the ball over so much. We’re getting used to running in transition now…we didn’t settle either. I thought we got good shots.”
For the Bulldogs, they’ll take on Clay County next, but regardless of the result, they’ll get a chance to compete in the region tournament. And that is something Mullinix is proud of.
“We’ve been to the region twice in the last 10 years,” Mullinix said. “We should be there, so we’re excited to be there.”