by Rusty Ellis
The Clarkrange Lady Buffaloes won their 11th straight game on Thursday night in a dominant 58-20 victory over the Wartburg Lady Bulldogs.
The opening frame saw Clarkrange knock down five three-pointers, two of which belonged to Chloe Rogers, to take a 19-6 lead. They added on in the second quarter by outscoring Wartburg 18-2, which added up to a 37-8 lead at the break.
Clarkrange only played their starters sparingly in the second half, as they cruised to the finish line from there in a 38-point victory, their 11th in a row.
Kacey Sells and Kady Hopkins each tied for game-high honors with 10 points for the Lady Buffaloes, while Addy Stowers added nine points.
The Lady Buffaloes haven’t lost since a 58-57 decision against Stone Memorial on Dec. 6, and head coach Lamar Rogers says there’s plenty to be pleased about from Thursday, despite what he called bad scheduling with an important district game to follow on Friday.
“A Thursday before we have to go to Clay County,” Rogers said. “(Wartburg’s) a young team and we took care of business…we had really good ball movement, so I was happy about that.”
Friday’s matchup against the Lady Bulldogs will be one of the toughest tests for this Lady Buffalo team to this point, and Rogers knows they’ll have to play their best game if they want to come out of Friday with another victory.
“We’ve got to play great defense, they like to do a lot of high-low on offense,” Rogers said. “(Briley Burchett) is the starting point for us, we need to slow her down and limit her touches…they’ve got some really good shooters, so defensively we need to play really solid.”
The Buffaloes earned their second consecutive win as well, this one by a 69-40 margin over the Bulldogs.
Clarkrange got off to a fast start with a 19-point first quarter, powered by eight points from Bryton Swallows, and took a 19-12 lead into the second quarter.
There, the Buffaloes limited Wartburg to just five points and after a lengthy delay due to a serious injury on Wartburg’s side, the visitors took a 29-17 lead into the halftime break.
The third quarter proved to be the biggest difference in the game, as the Buffaloes exploded for 26 points in the quarter and outscored the Bulldogs by 16 to push the lead to 55-27, and it was smooth-sailing from there as Clarkrange won their second straight game 69-40.
Swallows led all scorers with 18 points, while Case Cordell scored 15 of his own. Jack Cordell added 11 as the only other Buffalo in double figures.
Head coach Jermain McElvain was pleased with his team’s effort, as he believes his team did everything he wanted them to do to not only win this game, but to also prepare for Clay County.
“We worked a lot on our half-court defense because we knew they were going to try to speed us up,” McElvain said. “We had a really simple game-plan coming into this one, and the guys followed it and we got the win.”
The third quarter was one of the best quarters in all phases for the Buffaloes this season, and McElvain credited the team’s focus for making it happen.
“We knew we made some small mistakes near the end of the second quarter,” McElvain said. “That kept the guys fired up, so they came out in the third quarter and did what they needed to do…we talked about effort a lot this game, because we know what the schedule in front of us looks like. It’s going to take 100% effort.”
Clarkrange will be back in action on Friday in Celina when they battle Clay County.