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GATOR CLASSIC: Trailblazers overcome rust to defeat Rams

The Durango girls basketball team hasn’t done much since its last game on Dec. 16, and the rustiness showed in the first half Saturday.

But the Trailblazers found their legs in the final 16 minutes.

Vonie Thomas scored 13 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:03 remaining in the fourth quarter, and Durango rallied for a 40-36 victory over Rancho in pool play of the Gator Winter Classic at Green Valley.

The tournament continues Monday and Tuesday at Green Valley.

“We have a lot of sick girls, and our practices have been really weak the last week and a half,” Durango coach Bill Thompson said. “We’ve done a lot of standing around recently, and obviously we did a lot of that in the first half. Hopefully we’re all feeling better and we can get going from the start on Monday.”

Jazmin Chavez had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Aylin Ponce added 11 points and nine rebounds for Durango.

The Trailblazers went 7-for-30 from the field in the first half and trailed 20-15 at halftime, but used a 14-4 run in the second half to take a 33-29 lead with 3:53 left in regulation.

“We got some motion in our offense,” Thompson said. “When we were flashing through, we were getting layups and putbacks.”

Rancho regained the lead at 36-35 on a baseline jumper by Ashlynn McCall with 2:38 to play before Brittany Romo drove to the baseline and found Thomas alone in the lane for an easy basket and 37-36 advantage.

Romo made 1 of 2 free throws with 11.1 seconds to go, and Chavez put away the game by going 2-for-2 from the line with 7.2 seconds left.

“We’ve got pretty much the same base we’ve had the last three years. Even as poorly as we played in the first half, we never felt we were out of it,” Thompson said. “The girls never gave up on me. When you continually do that, good things happen.”

LaKissa Martin led Rancho with 15 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while teammate Jada Wilson finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

The Rams missed two shots in the final 25.2 seconds with a chance to take the lead and also turned over the ball with eight seconds to play trailing 38-36.

Martin made a 3-pointer and went coast-to-coast for a layup with 2:22 left in the second quarter to give Rancho its biggest lead at 20-9. Wilson’s putback basket early in the third quarter put the Rams on top 22-15, but Rancho went more than eight minutes without a field goal as the Trailblazers rallied.

Spring Valley 63, Needles 45 — Essence Booker poured in 25 points, and Kayla Harris added 22 as the Grizzlies beat the Mustangs.

Booker had 19 points in the second half.

Brenna Chavez led Needles with 19 points, and teammate Jane Antone finished with 16 points.

Coronado 60, Sunrise Mountain 28 — Samantha Green had 14 points, and Dajah Washington scored 13 as the Cougars routed the Miners.

Karlie Thorn added 12 points for Coronado, which led 32-11 at halftime.

Whykella Haley finished with eight points to lead Sunrise Mountain.

Green Valley 61, Cimarron-Memorial 54 — Yamilei Rodriguez had 14 points, and Brooke Haney added 12 points as the host Gators slipped past the Spartans.

Emelyn Osorio finished with 10 points for Green Valley, which overcame a 12-for-27 showing at the free-throw line.

Ashli Tyus had 20 of her game-high 22 points in the second half for Cimarron and made four of her team’s five 3-pointers. Zaquae Downton added 17 points for the Spartans.

Rancho 59, Chaparral 52 — Martin finished with a game-high 28 points to lift the Rams past the Cowboys.

Martin had 17 points in the first half to help Rancho take a 34-24 lead at the break. Wilson scored all seven of her points in the second half for the Rams.

Alexis Vanstory led Chaparral with 19 points. Marcia Hawkins had 15 points for the Cowboys, and teammate Taij Criss-Felton scored 14.

Needles 52, Del Sol 39 — Antone and Chavez each finished with 15 points in the Mustangs’ win over the Dragons.

Antone had 11 points in the first half as Needles opened up a 36-25 lead.

Jazland Campbell and Alina Marruffo had nine points apiece to lead Del Sol.

Las Vegas 37, Cheyenne 32 — Teconna Dyer had 14 points as the Wildcats edged the Desert Shields.

Dyer scored 12 points in the first half to help Las Vegas take a 22-15 advantage at halftime.

Faith Fetapai finished with 11 points for Cheyenne.

Cheyenne 71, Coral Academy 8 — Kaylan Finley had 16 points, and the Desert Shields cruised past the Falcons.

Bria Buchanan and Koreyl Godbolt each finished with 14 points for Cheyenne, which scored the first 38 points of the game and held Coral Academy scoreless until midway through the second quarter.

Alessandra Ponce had four points for the Falcons.

Westchester (Calif.) 72, Las Vegas 47 — Dyer finished with 22 points in the Wildcats’ loss to the Comets.

Dyer scored 12 points in the second half, and Armonnie Byrd added 11 points for the Wildcats, who were outscored 46-28 after trailing by seven points points at halftime. .

Ijeoma Anugwom led Westchester with 32 points, including 18 in the second half. Erianna Growdy had 15 points for the Comets, and teammate Heyavin Johnson chipped in with 13 points.

Spring Valley 52, Spanish Springs 21 — Booker finished with 17 points, six steals, five rebounds and two assists, and Harris notched 15 points, seven steals and four assists as the Grizzlies topped the Cougars.

Alana Walker added six points, seven blocked shots, five rebounds and four steals for Spring Valley, which rolled to a 32-9 halftime lead. Bria Hardin-Davidson supplied three rebounds, three steals and two assists for the Grizzlies.

Katrina Prendergast led Spanish Springs with nine points.

Dimond (Alaska) 68, Chaparral 53 — Criss-Felton scored 12 of her 21 points in the second half of the Cowboys’ loss to the Lynx.

Vanstory added 18 points for Chaparral.

Dejha Canty poured in a game-high 27 points to lead Dimond.

Silverado 57, Western 25 — Holly Messmer and Deja Siaki each finished with 12 points, and the Skyhawks routed the Warriors.

Monet Salazar added 11 points for Silverado, which led 32-15 at halftime. Messmer and Siaki had 10 points apiece in the opening two quarters.

Destiny Gonzalez had a game-high 15 points for Western, and teammate Capricia Pierce notched 10 points.

Coronado 56, Shadow Ridge 35 — Kayla Watterson had 15 points, and all nine players scored for the Cougars in their non-tournament win over the Mustangs.

Green supplied 14 points for Coronado, which took the game after Mainland (New Zealand) was late arriving.

Assana King led Shadow Ridge with nine points. Ciera DaPra and Amira King each finished with eight points for the Mustangs, who trailed 32-14 at halftime.

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