Amber Garcia scored 15 points and Austin Travis picked up its first win of the season, beating Florence 36-25 on Friday in the Florence girls tournament.
The Lady Buffs kept the score close for a majority of the first quarter. Senior center Juana Robles brought the block party early on defense as she swatted the ball away from the hoop to the Florence crowd’s excitement.
The very next play Robles held her ground on the block, drawing a charging foul on junior guard LaShawnda Scott.
The Lady Buffs (1-7) came within a point of the Lady Rebels at the end of the first quarter with a 3-pointer by Bonnie Weidler.
Back-to-back steals from senior guard Faith DeLeon started the second quarter, and she got a pass down in the post to Weidler to pull the Lady Buffs ahead 11-10.
The Lady Rebels (1-3) quickly returned with two unanswered points from Scott and forward Nathalie Granjeno.
Late in the second quarter, DeLeon hit a 3-pointer to tie the game 14-14 before disaster struck. With 30 seconds left on the clock, senior forward Amelia Angel, Robles and Travis center Chiann Sykes got tangled up going for a rebound ending with Sykes landing on Robles, who was helped off the court.
A foul was called on Sykes and at the half Travis led 19-14.
The third quarter saw a 6-0 run from Florence with drives from sophomore forward Morgan Benoist and Weidler, who led the Lady Buffs with 12 points.
“I think the biggest thing is when we’re in practice ... it’s important for us to highlight those moments, show them what’s right instead of focusing on the mistakes all the time,” said Florence head coach Ashley Lewis
With Robles out, Angel and the Lady Buffs put up a defensive fight, but it wasn’t enough to slow down the Lady Rebels, who led 27-20 at the end of the quarter.
Travis senior forward Krishonna Jones scored in the last seconds of the game for the fijnal margin.
Lewis said the team realizes that it is going into district play as the underdog.
“One of the mottoes that they’ve adopted is, ‘We may be small but we want it all,’” she said.
“And then the motto for the season is that we want to be the heart of the herd.”
ROSEBUD-LOTT 47, FLORENCE 19: Florence was looking to start Friday just as it had the day before, with a victory, but ended up falling to the Lady Cougars, who scored 16 of the game's first 19 points and never looked back.
Weidler again led the Lady Buffs with seven points.
Rosebud-Lott (3-2) was 2-0 in the tournament and had height on their side over the Lady Buffs, whose tallest defender was the same height as Rosebud-Lott’s shortest guard.
Florence struggled to get on the board but put up a couple points when Robles was sent to the line. Despite a more physical defense from junior guard Gabriella Maldonado and sophomore forward Morgan Benoist, the Lady Buffs trailed Rosebud-Lott 16-3 at the end of the first quarter.
DeLeon started the second quarter by forcing a turnover on the Lady Cougars. Sophomore guard Brianna Ramirez executed a sharp pass to Benoist under the basket but couldn’t sink the shot.
Florence’s defense had steals from DeLeon and Benoist in the quarter.
“It’s all about the chemistry because we have a mix of girls on the court and that mix of girls have been taught by multiple coaches,” Lewis said.
“I think once we get to the point where they start to think alike, we’ll connect more on chemistry.”
Florence also applied a more physical defense as 4-foot-8 sophomore guard Vanessa Mora didn’t shy away from guarding 5-11 Rosebud-Lott senior center Rebecca Bennett.
Angel put a fight under the net on two back-to-back plays and Mora had a steal in the last seconds of the second quarter but the Lady Cougars led 24-7 at the half.
The third quarter drew fouls that sent Weidler and Robles to the line getting the Lady Buffs’ score into the double digits while Rosebud-Lott pulled ahead 35-12.
The Lady Buffs outscored Rosebud-Lott 14-3 at the free-throw line.
Ramirez got the fourth quarter going for Florence with a layup.
Florence held the Lady Cougars to seven points in the fourth quarter.