By LAURA GVOZDAS
The Wood River High girls' varsity basketball team came out Wednesday night at home against the Buhl Indians with something to prove.
After beginning the New Year with a 43-9 loss to conference foe Minico Jan. 6 in Rupert, Wood River needed to show that a single-digit scoring effort was just not its style.
The Wolverines scored and then quickly surpassed those nine points in just the first few minutes of the game. Wood River (3-11, 1-3 league) went on to defeat the Indians 41-23.
Hot out of the start, Wood River scored 14 points in the first quarter, holding Buhl to only six.
Senior Syringa Stark and sophomore Kristen Miniard knocked down threes in the first quarter. Seniors Laura Johnson and Alexa Alberdi sank shots of their own to keep the Wolverines rolling.
Buhl continued to struggle in the second quarter. Hampered by turnovers and poor shooting, the Indians only managed to score two points, both from free throws.
Taking advantage of their opponents' weaknesses, Wood River headed into halftime with a 24-8 lead, cushioned by the two 3-pointers from Stark in the second quarter.
"Syringa is shooting really well," Wood River coach Brent Carnduff said after the game. "She had to adjust to being the leader of the team earlier in the season but she is really stepping up in that role."
Buhl began to pick up some momentum after halftime—nearly matching, in just one quarter, all the points the Tribe scored in the first half.
But Miniard knocked down another 3-pointer and Stark sank two free throws to keep the Indians at bay.
Wood River began to lose steam in the fourth period. At the same time, Buhl seemed to have finally adjusted to the high altitude. They outscored the Wolverines 8-6 in the last eight minutes of the game.
However, the deficit created early in the game was too great to make up for the Indians (0-12).
Stark finished the game with 15 points, marking the fourth time in the last five games she has scored in double digits.
Other scorers were Miniard (9 points), Alberdi (7), Johnson (6) and freshman Lauren Morgenthaler (4). High scorer for Buhl was Breht Montgomery (7 points).
The win, Wood River's highest point total of the season, snapped a five-game losing streak for Wood River and was crucial for team morale heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
"We have a tough finish to the season with the upcoming conference games," said Carnduff.
The Hailey girls finish off the month of January with round two of their 4A opponents including Blackfoot, Hillcrest and Century.
"We were starting to play well prior to Christmas break but then we came out slow last week with the loss to Minico," Carnduff said. "This win was important to get us on the right track heading into the next two weeks."
The Wolverines travel to Jerome Friday, Jan. 14 for a Great Basin West Conference match-up. The Tigers (6-8, 0-4 league) are still licking their wounds after Wood River beat them 32-23 earlier in December—the first Wolverine win over Jerome since 1983.