Buffalo's Chelsey Parkins (right) tries to get around Parkersburg Catholic's Maddie Roedersheimer during their game Monday night at Buffalo High.
BUFFALO - When Buffalo's coaches put together a schedule this season that included several more top 10 teams than in years past, they were eyeing a game like Monday night.The Bison went toe-to-toe with Parkersburg Catholic, holding a 13-point lead late in the third quarter, before falling 51-47. A crowd of about 100 attended at Buffalo High School.Buffalo led 42-33 after three periods, but the Crusaderettes (16-4), who are sixth in Class A in this week's Associated Press poll, scored the first 14 points of the fourth quarter. Parkersburg Catholic outscored the Bison 18-5 in the final period after tallying just 18 points in the opening half."I think it's just going to make us better playing tough teams,'' said Buffalo sophomore Chelsey Parkins, who turned in 10 points and 11 rebounds. "I think we're progressing, but we slack off in the second half. We need to play hard all four quarters.''Buffalo (9-10), which set a school record for wins last season at 17-6, is beginning to get healthy after losing players to flu and stomach viruses. The Bison also underwent a head coaching change in the middle of the season and Jamie Ball, who was the assistant, took over."You can see we can play right with [Parkersburg Catholic] as long was we have legs under us,'' said Ball, whose saw his team commit 30 turnovers. "We got tired. We were playing the 1-3-1 [zone defense] and we kind of got lazy."We just didn't have the jump we did in the first half. The last two weeks of practice we've had numbers as low as four. We've had stomach flu, strep throat and hospitalizations. The plague has gone through Buffalo. Once we get our legs under us and practice as a squad I think we'll be just fine to put a run together at the end.''After Parkersburg Catholic took a 47-42 edge with the game-changing run, Buffalo knotted the game at 47-all on Tiffani Bailey's 3-pointer and Ali Burdette's putback with 2:08 left.
Rachel Nill answered with a jump shot with 1:50 remaining to give the Crusaderettes the lead for good at 49-47. Burdette, a freshman, missed two free throws with 9.5 seconds to go that would have tied the game. Parkersburg Catholic's Leah Hughes, who scored seven of her nine points in the fourth, set the final score by knocking down a pair of foul shots with eight seconds left.Maddie Roedersheimer scored 15 points and landed nine rebounds for Parkersburg Catholic while Hughes contributed 12 boards and four steals."Our girls made a concerted effort at halftime to make sure they weren't coming out of here with a loss,'' said Parkersburg Catholic coach Marty Vierheller, whose squad turned the ball over 14 times in the first half and only three times in the second half. "I think it boiled down to we concentrated so much better in the second half. We did some things that made life on ourselves much more difficult."You're playing a team that's very capable and [Buffalo] went out and busted us in the mouth in the first half.''Paige Roush's 11 points paced Buffalo, while Bailey finished with eight points and Olivia Dunn had six points and six boards.Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com