It was not exactly Marshawn Lynch on Super Bowl media day, but Mitch Lowder was a man of few words as he headed toward the locker room following North Central’s 57-15 loss to the Buford girls Tuesday night at The Castle.
The Lady Knights’ head coach virtually conducted his own press conference following a game in which the visiting Yellow Jackets broke a 15-15 stalemate by scoring the final 42 points of the evening. Their scoring spree came in the final 19 minutes of play.
"Defensively," Lowder said after his team fell to 0-7 in Region 4-AA play, "that was the best first half of ball we’ve played all year. What happened in the second half? I don’t know because they didn’t do anything different."
That old coaches’ saying of a lid --- in this case, a manhole cover --- being on the basket was never truer than it was on this night for the hostesses who were led by 10 points from sophomore forward Alexis Baker. Sophomore guard Taylor Robinson added the four points with Tytyana Miller adding a free throw.
Trailing 10-5 after the first quarter, NC closed the gap to 12-10 with 5:12 left in the first half after Robinson scored a pair of baskets 65 seconds apart; the latter being on a drive which narrowed the gap to two points.
Buford’s Hanna Robinson put the visitors on top, 15-10, with a putback of a missed Gabrielle Davis free throw. NC answered back with Baker taking it to the hole for a layin before knotting things at 15 with a 3-point jumper with three minutes to play in the half.
From there, the Yellow Jackets closed the first 16 minutes of play on an 8-0 run to carry a 23-15 advantage into the locker room at intermission. Things would get very ugly from there.
Staying with their press and forcing turnovers which turned into baskets on the other end of the floor, Buford (14-4, 5-2 in 4-AA) took control of this one with a 17-0 third quarter run. The visitors did not stop there as they tacked on 17 more points in the final stanza to put this one away.
Lowder said he could not believe what he saw in the second half.
"We turned the ball over and we were out of position," Lowder said. "When we do that, they make things happen and things work against us.
"I’ve never been through a game where we didn’t score a point in a half. That’s a first in my 32 years of coaching and, I’m not real happy. But I take responsibility for it."
Lowder said Buford’s length gave his girls problems, especially under the boards. Again, though, he refused to use that as an excuse for his team’s going dry from the field in after the three-minute mark of the second quarter.
The only thing which Lowder said his team could do was to go back to work to correct the mistakes made on this night.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us," he said. "When we can’t score, we can’t score. We had a hard time tonight. But we’ll get back after it tomorrow; tomorrow’s another day."
BHS (57):Gabrielle Davis 4 2-4 10, Hanna Robinson 4 1-2 12, Valerie Jones 3 0-0 7, Jasona Ballard 5 1-3 11, Morgan Deese 3 1-2 7, Adrianna Ray 2 0-0 4, Courtney Snips 2 0-2 4, Allison Enfinger 1 0-0 2. Totals: 24 5-13 57
NC (15):Alexis Baker 4 1-6 10, Tytyana Miller 0 1-2 1, Taylor Robinson 2 0-0 4. Totals: 6 2-8 15
Score by quarters:First: BHS, 10-5; Halftime: BHS, 23-15; Third: BHS, 40-15; Three-point goals: BHS 4 (Robinson 3, Jones), NC 1 (Baker)