By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
FLORENCE - Florence coach Danny Wood was happier losing Friday than he was winning.
The Buffaloes struggled to find momentum Thursday and then came out complacent again Friday morning.
However, the Buffaloes played one of their better games of the season in the final game of pool play in the afternoon against Round Rock Cedar Ridge at the Florence Tournament.
They still lost, though.
Florence fell down 17-7 in the first quarter, but never could catch up and lost 45-37. Earlier in the day, the Buffs defeated Holland 50-44.
Still, Wood was more pleased with the loss, calling it, "The most positive loss I've ever been a part of."
Florence found the defensive intensity it was missing the first three games of the tournament and also held its ground on offense.
"I was pleased with the effort on both ends of the court," Wood said. "For the most part they were patient (on offense) ... Defensively I could not have asked for better effort.
"They flat-out got after it. It did not matter who was on the floor."
Florence's defensive improvement was
especially evident in the last three quarters, when the Buffaloes put pressure on the ball and denied the Raiders any entry passes into the post.
Unable to make the passes it needed, Cedar Ridge was forced to drive the lane or shoot the 3. With a talented roster of sophomores and freshman, they converted on those opportunities, though, and barely outscored Florence 23-21 in the third and fourth quarters.
In the fourth, both teams struggled offensively with neither team scoring until Florence's Eddie Davis drove the lane for a bucket with 3:32 left. Davis score cut the Raider lead to 11, but Florence did not get closer until Daniel Taylor hit a 3 as the buzzer sounded.
Against Holland, Michael Ramirez scored 21 points as the Buffaloes defeated Hornets for the second time this season. In the first meeting Florence defeated Holland 54-28.
This time it was a lot closer.
"Holland was a lot better and we had more of the same from (Thursday)," Wood said. "We did not shoot the ball very well and had a a lot of standing around on defense.
"It was better, but not where I wanted them to be."
Woods got what he wanted later in the day.
"Even though it was a loss - if they play like that - I can live with the result," he said.