BUFFALO, W.Va. - It's not quite home just yet, but Buffalo went a long way in christening its new gym with a victory Tuesday night.Junior Chelsey Parksin scored 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds and the Bison received contributions all around in taking a 63-24 decision over Greater Beckley Christian in the season opener. A crowd of about 100 attended the Class A game, the first one in the new building."We'll remember it for years,'' said Buffalo senior wing Tiffani Bailey. "We can tell other people, 'We played the very first game in this gym and we won.' It means everything going from a gym that has cracks in the floor and squeaks all the time and going to a new gym. It's just awesome.''The Buffalo community opened its new school this fall and along with it a sparkling new gym, which replaced the 61-year-old one that was affectionately dubbed "The Barn.''
The Bison enjoyed a competitive edge on the 74-foot by 48-foot floor with walls and bleachers just a few inches off the court and dead spots galore. And it seemed as if the Buffalo fans were directly on top of the action along the sidelines.The bigger and brighter gym with ample space around the baskets and an open shooting background will take some time to get used to. A new script "The Barn'' was emblazoned on the new floor."It'll get there,'' said Bison senior guard Amber Cochran. "Where it's new to everybody, it'll settle in. It'll have that whole 'protecting The Barn' kind of thing like we did in the old school. Buffalo is a small town and we're all family so it's a blessing to get a new gym and a new school.''Buffalo sped out to an 11-0 lead, and junior shooting guard Katie Allen scored the first points in the new gym on a 3-pointer that banked in off the glass.Parkins, who was saddled with two quick fouls and sat most of the opening quarter, netted 10 of the Bison's 14 points in the second period as Buffalo took a commanding 28-8 lead at halftime.Greater Beckley pulled within 29-12 on Allie Warden's jump shot early in the third quarter, but that was a close as it would get as Buffalo went on a 21-2 run to close out the period and go ahead 40-14.Bison freshman Michaela Lewis turned in nine points and 10 rebounds off the bench while sophomore Olivia Dunn added eight points and junior point guard Paige Roush chipped in six points, five assists and four steals and Allen finished with six points, four assists and four steals."I think we'll get better as the season goes along,'' Bailey said. "We have stuff to work on, but I think we did good. Everybody contributed.'' "I thought we played as a team,'' added Cochran, who contributed six points. "Sometimes it got a little jumbled, but it happens. Then we came together and won as a team.''Buffalo shot just 22 of 85 from the field, including a 6-of-33 effort on 3-pointers, and missed 10 free throws (13 of 23). The Bison, though, forced 49 turnovers and held Greater Beckley to 10-of-36 shooting."We understand what it means coming into a brand-new building,'' said Buffalo coach Jamie Ball. "We had a lot of pride. The girls love everything about the building.
"We took a lot of 3s and we missed a lot of 3s. We've shot [better] in practice, but you don't get any kind of game speed. I see all kinds of potential. We get that [3-point] percentage up around 30, 35, 40 percent where we hope to be, I think we'll be all right.''Kayla Hill's six points paced Greater Beckley and Jana Lehman had 10 rebounds.Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.