by nathan oster
After spending all of December and the first part of January on the road, the Greybull Buffs finally got to play in the friendly confines of Buff Gym on Tuesday night, hosting nonconference games against Burlington.
The girls gave the home fans plenty to cheer about in a double-overtime, 59-51 win over the Lady Huskies. The game was close throughout, but at the end of regulation and again at the end of the first overtime, the Lady Buffs had to hit some clutch shots to survive.
Buckets by Brett Stephens, Karlina McIntosh, and in the final seconds, Jordan Flitner helped the Lady Buffs tie the score at 40 apiece and force the first overtime.
McIntosh and Madi Edeler provided the heroics in the first overtime to ensure one final, four-minute overtime session. In it, the Lady Buffs rode the hot hand of Brett Stephens. Twice she connected from behind the arc, fueling a 13-5 scoring surge that lifted the Lady Buffs to the win.
Stephens finished with a team-high 14 points, followed by Edeler with 13 and Flitner with eight.
“It was a big win for us,” said Coach Jeff Hunt, whose team improved to 4-6 win the win. “We treat the Burlington game like a conference game. They are a rival. They could easily play in 2A every year. It’s a game we always want to win.”
Hunt went deep into his bench, playing all but one of his girls in the contest. He said a number of younger kids stepped up big time, including Ky Sorensen, who came off the bench to snare eight rebounds, including six on the offensive end, to go along with eight steals. Jordan Flitner was also credited with playing great defense; she finished with five steals.
The nightcap was a different story. Burlington led wire to wire, winning 54-43.
The Buffs didn’t score for the first three minutes and trailed 6-0 early. They regrouped enough to the score at 8 apiece at the end of the first quarter, but the Huskies owned the second quarter, outscoring Greybull 16-6 to take a 10-point halftime lead, 24-14.
The Buffs trimmed the gap to six points on a couple of different occasions in the second half, but were unable to mount the big run that they needed to catch the Huskies, who are the reigning 1A state champions.
Jess McNiven netted 18 in the win for Burlington.
The Buffs got 13 from Treston Tracy and 12 from Ryan Sylvester in the losing effort.
The Buffs are now in the midst of their longest homestand of the season — a four-game stretch in which they will play just one conference opponent in Thermopolis, which comes to town for games Friday, Jan. 23.
This week a pair of nonconference game are on tap.
Tongue River will be in town Friday, with games at 4, 5:30 and 7 p.m. It’ll be Pink Night. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the games. It’ll be a special night, with the spotlight shining brightly on breast cancer awareness and the Susan Komen Foundation, which will be the beneficiary of any funds that are raised.
Saturday will feature four games with Big Horn. The girls’ games are at 11 and 12:30, the boys games at 2 and 3:30.