In a game of runs, the Viera High girls basketball team ran out of time.
Trying to erase a seven-point deficit in the final 2:30 of the game, the Hawks got a basket by Dee Anderson in the closing seconds to cut the lead to one, but time ran out and visiting Buchholz came away with a 62-61 victory Saturday afternoon.
“We’re young,” Hawks coach Jamie Risberg said. “We played one senior a couple of minutes, and that was it. Hopefully, our kids grow up. It’s just one more opportunity for them to get better.”
Anderson, a junior, finished with 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. Junior teammate Rolanda Hayes also had 22 points to go with five assists and five steals.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, nobody else scored more than six points.
Buchholz, meanwhile, had three players in double figures, led by the backcourt tandem of Jaclynd Rollins (19 points) and Jessica Thomas (18 points).
The Bobcats (9-2) played a physical style that forced the Hawks into a number of mistakes and turnovers that lead to easy points.
It also didn’t help the Hawks that freshman Daniella Hatcher got into early foul trouble and saw limited minutes.
“We made a lot of little careless mistakes that led to not only turnovers, but baskets for them,” Risberg said. “Easy baskets. We just gave up way too many easy baskets, and it cost us the game.
“It was just a game of runs all night. We’d go up a few, they would go up a few. Next thing you know, whoever was up was down again.”
The Hawks, who have lost to Buchholz in the regional finals each of the past two seasons, got off to a fast start as Anderson scored Viera’s first nine points on the way to a 9-4 lead.
In the second, Viera turned a 20-19 deficit into a 27-20 lead with an 8-0 run. However, Buchholz answered with a 9-0 run to take the lead back.
Viera eventually took a 32-31 lead into halftime, but much of the second half was spent trying to chase the Bobcats down.
Buchholz opened up a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Viera scored the next six points to cut that lead to three, but the Bobcats pushed it back out again.
The Bobcats called time out with just under 36 seconds to play and leading 62-57. Viera got a pair of steals from Hayes, who then fed Anderson for a basket each time, but Buchholz was able to inbound the ball in the closing seconds and hang on for the win.
If the Hawks can indeed use Saturday’s loss as a learning experience, it could pay off should the teams meet again in the regional final. That game would be played in Viera.