It’s no secret that Douglas and Buffalo became all too familiar with one another last season. The two teams faced each other on four separate occasions – twice during the regular season, once in the regional tournament and finally in the state championship game.
What used to be a back-and-forth relationship, has become more one-sided in recent years. The Lady Cats entered this season having won six of the last seven meetings, setting up a matchup of the top-two teams in 3A last Friday in Buffalo.
The Lady Bison entered the game with just one loss, a 57-48 defeat suffered at the hands of Lyman on Jan. 5. Douglas made its way to Johnson County with its only loss coming to Thunder Basin at the Gillette Energy Classic on Dec. 28, the Lady Cats’ first loss since March 2017.
A No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup that many foresaw as an enticing preview of the state championship game for the second straight year, resulted in the exact opposite. Douglas led 28-7 after the first quarter and allowed no more than seven points in three of four quarters in an onslaught. The Lady Cats made nine of 24 shots from behind the three-point line, swatted nine Buffalo shot attempts and won in dominating fashion, 73-36.
“We didn’t really expect that,” sophomore Kamdynn Townsend said about the 37-point win. “It’s always tough to play in Buffalo and you never know how things could turn out.”
Douglas expected more from the second-best team in the state, and rightfully so. Even though rankings are simply just rankings, and not a true measurement of a team’s success or potential, it was only natural for the Lady Cats to have expected more.
After taking a 40-14 lead into halftime, the differences between the two teams became much more obvious as the deficit grew. Douglas finished with 19 points off turnovers, scored 38 points in the paint – more than Buffalo scored in the entire game – and intimidated the Lady Bison underneath the basket with authority.
Haedyn Rhoades led all Lady Cats scorers with 15 points to go along with seven assists, five rebounds and four steals. Emily Curtis added 15 points and Townsend contributed 12. Allyson Fertig put together her usual display of dominance near the basket with 10 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks.
Back on their home court Saturday afternoon, Douglas kept the ball rolling with a 65-18 win over Thermopolis. The unanimous top team in the state played exactly like it, limiting the Lady Bobcats to no more than eight points in any quarter and held them to a stunning 20 percent shooting from the field. They led 44-10 at halftime and scored 32 points off turnovers, compared to none for the visiting team.
Townsend added to her 12 points the night before and led all scorers with 21 points and five rebounds. Curtis put together a well-rounded performance with 13 points, eight rebounds and four steals, Riley Seeds scored nine points to go along with six rebounds and three steals and Rhoades added seven points, four assists and four steals.
After hitting the game-winning shot in last year’s regional championship game against Buffalo, Townsend is enjoying an elevated role this season for the Lady Cats. But to her, not much has changed.
“I feel like my role is the same because I’m trying to help our team win as many games as we can,” she said. “Because our team has so many good players, it makes my job as a sophomore easier on the team.”
Douglas will now prepare itself for a home matchup with Newcastle (1-9) on Friday before traveling to Cheyenne South (5-7) on Saturday.
The 3A conference foes are slated for a 5:30 p.m. start on Friday at the Douglas Rec Center. The opening tip is set for 11:30 a.m. Saturday in Laramie County.