BY JOHN DUBOIS
The Armstrong-Potomac Lady Trojans and the Georgetown-Ridge Farm Lady Buffaloes are getting accustomed to playing each other in big games.
When the two teams met last Friday, the Vermilion County Tournament Championship was on the line.
In the re-match Thursday night at Georgetown, at least a share of first place in the Vermilion Valley Conference was on the line.
With one week to go in the regular season the Buffaloes came into the game tied with Schlarman Academy, while the Trojans — following a loss to the Hilltoppers on Monday — were one game back.
Sparked by a solid defensive effort, the Buffaloes broke open a two point game early in the third quarter and pulled away for a 38-19 win.
“We were disappointed we lost at the county tournament, but we have also focused a lot on the conference and it means a lot to us,” said Georgetown-Ridge Farm coach Michelle Brooks. “Tonight was also some redemption for the loss at the county tournament. We shot 21 percent in the championship game, but we got going tonight offensively and shot the ball well.”
The win also extends the Buffaloes’ home wining streak which dates back to January 2011. GRF moves to 17-4 overall, 9-2 VVC, and the Buffaloes were led by a game high 16 points from Brittany Hay, with Callan Hall adding seven points, and Maya Green chipped in with six points.
Armstrong-Potomac is now 15-9 overall, 7-4 VVC and the Trojans were led by eight points from Morgan Zindars, with Johanna Bruens adding four points. The Trojans were playing without starters Rachel Miles (injury) and Kirsten Newnum ( illness).
The Trojans got out to an early lead, but a late lay-up from Hay would give the Buffaloes an 8-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Zindars would score all seven of the Trojans points.
Hay would bank in a three pointer mid-way through the second quarter to give the Buffaloes their largest lead of the first half. The Trojans were limited to a basket from Courtney Hambleton as the Buffaloes took a 15-9 lead into halftime.
The GRF defense held the Trojans scoreless for over five minutes in the second quarter and held the Trojans post players, Erika Sieberns and Bruens, scoreless in the first half.
“We were focused on Bruens after the big game she had against us at the county tournament,” Brooks said. “We did a nice job of keeping her from getting the ball and a lot of that was the defense that Maya Green was playing out front on Zindars. Maya was held down a little offensively tonight, but she worked very hard on defense and did a good job of shutting down Zindars after the first quarter.”
Bruens would score both of her baskets early in the third quarter to make the score 15-13, but the Buffaloes responded with a 10-1 run and ultimately took a 27-16 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Trojans would open the fourth quarter scoring but a three from Hannah Brandt, seconds after entering the game for the first time, turned the momentum back to the Buffaloes which essentially put the game away.
“Hannah is a very good shooter who has been in a slump,” Brooks said. “It was really nice to see her come into the game and hit a big shot.”
Brooks was impressed with the effort from her team.
“Everyone worked very hard all week,” she said. “It was a nice bounce-back game against Armstrong for Brittany, who struggled with her shot in the county tournament game. Callan did a nice job in the middle of our defense. It would have been easy for our team to have been emotionally down following the county tournament, but we were able to pick ourselves up and fight back.”
Both teams return to action Monday with senior night games. The Trojans will be hosting Hoopeston Area, while the Buffaloes will have a chance to avenge one of their conference losses when they host Oakwood.
“We have talked about this game with Oakwood,” Brooks said. “Oakwood put us in our place earlier this year, and we will in no way be complacent or not be prepared to play them.”