BY JOHN DUBOIS
When the Georgetown-Ridge Farm Lady Buffaloes completed a three peat for their last Vermilion County Tournament championship in 1991 gas was just over a dollar a gallon, the first George Bush was still president and the Chicago Bulls had yet to win their first NBA championship.
Buffaloes coach Michelle Brooks, a member of that 1991 squad, said her team put ending that 23-year drought as one of their main goals for this season and Monday at the Palmer Arena the Buffaloes took the second step towards achieving that goal with a 50-13 win over the Oakwood Lady Comets.
The win leaves the Buffaloes one game away from reaching the tournament championship game and also avenges a loss to the Comets just over one month ago.
“We took a lot away from that loss to Oakwood in December and knew we couldn’t come into this game overlooking or underestimating them,’’ Brooks said. “Tonight was some redemption for us for that loss. I had the opportunity to experience a tournament championship as a player and know the confidence it brought us as team then. It would be just as important for our confidence as a team this season.’’
The Buffaloes were led by Callan Hall and Brittany Hay who each had a game-high 14 points. Maya Green added 10 points and Lexi Ovall chipped in with six points.
The Buffaloes used a full court press following their first basket and continued it for most of the first half.
Georgetown-Ridge Farm got out to a 5-0 lead before Taylor McGlaughlin got the Comets on the board. The Buffaloes would end the period on an 8-2 run to take a 13-4 lead. Ovall scored all of her points in the first quarter.
“Lexi has been a good scorer for us, but she didn’t have too many opportunities in our first game of the tournament,’’ Brooks said. “As a team, we were more comfortable in this game and we were able to get more players involved. It was one of our goals and one of Brittany’s goals as our point guard to have all of the starters (Hall, Hay, Green, Ovall, Catie Brandt) score, and we were able to do that.’’
Green was held scoreless in the first quarter but got going in the second with back-to-back 3-pointers which gave the Buffaloes their largest lead of the first half at 25-6.
The Comets would score four late points to cut the GRF lead to 27-10 heading into half-time.
After being held to two points in the first half, Hall opened the third quarter with back-to-back jump shots which sparked a 12-0 run to open the second half.
The Comets got a pair of free throws from Delaney Durst four and a half minutes into the quarter, but that would be the only scoring for Oakwood in the third as the Buffaloes reeled off the last seven points of the period to take a 46-12 lead.
Georgetown-Ridge Farm committed just five fouls in the game.
“I was really impressed with how smart we played on defense,’’ Brooks said. “We have been working on playing smart and we did a very nice job of that tonight.
“We set a goal of allowing 10 or fewer points in each half and were able to achieve that. We also did a nice job of both offensive and defensive rebounding.’’
The Comets were led by four points from Sadie Edwards with Durst adding three points. Harlena Hardin and Joellyn Weaver also scored for Oakwood.
Georgetown-Ridge Farm (14-3) will play the Westville Lady Tigers at 8 p.m. Wednesday for the Pool B championship and a spot in the tournament title game.
“That will a big game with Westville and it was a one-point game the last time we played them,’’ Brooks said. “We have a lot of respect for Westville and it will be a chance for our team to take another step forward.
“The loss we had in the regional last year set the tone for us for this season. That loss hurt us a team and motivated everyone to get ready for this season. Everyone was looking forward to this season from the moment that regional game ended last year. The girls believe in themselves and the team.’’
Oakwood (5-15) will face the Hoopeston Area Cornjerkers at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The winner advances to the fifth-place game on Friday night.