FLORENCE — The funk is gone.
After losing its District 25-3A opener Tuesday by 46 points to Jarrell, which sits atop the Texas Girls Coaches Association rankings, Florence needed to regain some confidence.
The Lady Buffaloes were questioning themselves to a degree and wondering exactly how they would rebound from the lopsided loss.
On Friday, however, Florence redeemed itself.
Behind three double-digit scorers, the Lady Buffaloes produced a blowout of their own, jumping out to a 29-6 lead before cruising to a 65-20 victory against Hill Country Christian in a nondistrict matchup.
While the win does nothing to propel Florence closer to the playoffs, it did infuse the squad with momentum.
“We needed this,” Lady Buffaloes senior Mackenzie Futrell said. “It boosted our confidence a lot and shows us what we can do. This is really going to help us when we return to district play next week.”
Florence head coach Drake Stanczak agreed.
“We were a little down after our performance against Jarrell,” he said. “So this is a good pick-me-up for us, and I think we can carry this with us.”
The Lady Buffaloes opened the game with six unanswered points before Hill Country Christian responded with a pair of baskets to pull within two points, but the Lady Knights did not get any closer.
Florence recorded the final 12 points of the first quarter before extending its outburst to 33-6 en route to taking a 41-16 advantage into halftime. Along the way, Futrell scored 10 of her game-high 19 points, while sophomore Juana Macedo tallied all 10 points of her points and pulled down six of her nine rebounds in the half.
“Our fastbreak was really working,” said Macedo, who made 5 of her first 6 shots. “When we play up-tempo, we can really score some points.”
The Lady Buffaloes’ offense slowed down in the second half, but their defense improved.
Despite posting just 24 points after halftime, Florence (4-8) was never threatened, limiting the Lady Knights to just two field goals through the final 16 minutes of play, including a scoreless fourth quarter.
The strong defensive finish was due in part to making baskets early, according to Stanczak.
“We made some 3-pointers in the first half,” he said, “and that was big for us because when our confidence level is high, we just play better. If we miss some shots early in games, we have a tendency to get down on ourselves a little bit, so it was important to come out hot.”
Futrell and junior Madison Hill, who finished with eight points, both made a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, while teammate Courtney Culp was responsible for the team’s fifth successful shot from behind the arc before halftime.
Culp finished with nine points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists, but she was not the only player from Florence with well-rounded statistics.
Along with her scoring, Futrell had seven steals and three assists, while Sydne Simpson finished with four points, four rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
Although the victory was good for the soul, the Lady Buffaloes know they cannot afford to ease up as they prepare to return to district play Tuesday on the road against Lago Vista.
“We have to continue to play as a team and communicate,” Futrell said. “Our key to winning will be relying on our fastbreak and tiring other teams out, but we have to keep communicating like we did tonight.”