Desert Pines’ See’Airrah Evans-Collins played just one minute of the fourth quarter Thursday afternoon before fouling out.
The Jaguars, though, didn’t miss their star player late, as she already put the game out of reach.
Evans-Collins had 14 points and 14 rebounds before exiting with 6:49 remaining and a 17-point lead, and Desert Pines held on for a 42-29 win over Spring Creek in pool play of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic at Centennial.
“She’s the beast for us,” Desert Pines coach Lonnie Campbell said. “She’s still learning the game. She’s only been playing since eighth grade.”
Evans-Collins, a four-year varsity player, went to her post moves early and often Thursday to take high-percentage shots and score all of her points. Her defense also was key in limiting Spring Creek from getting points in the paint and pulling down rebounds.
“Her thing, ever since I met her, is rebounding and playing defense,” Campbell said. “That’s what she loves. She’s definitely strong inside. That’s her favorite hobby — lifting weights.”
The Jaguars, who only dressed six players, led 37-20 when Evans-Collins fouled out. Desert Pines played the final minute of the game with four players, as teammate Kailoni Paulino also fouled out.
“I’m proud of them,” Campbell said. “They’re showing that they can compete. And they have a lot of heart. They’re realizing that the conditioning we’re doing is starting to pay off. I love the way they held on. We finished with four girls. They’re still young and they’re still learning. That was a great win for us.”
The Jaguars trailed only once in the game at 4-3 in the first quarter. But Evans-Collins teamed up with Heaven Heacock to build a 24-14 halftime lead for Desert Pines. The Jaguars then pulled away with a 13-6 third-quarter run.
Heacock led all scorers with 17 points. She also had three steals for Desert Pines (5-9).
“I’m hoping they gain confidence in themselves, going into the conference season,” Campbell said. “And understanding that they can compete with anybody. There’s not a whole lot of 3A teams in this tournament, and they’re competing against 4A teams and I’m proud of them for that. They’re not backing down. …
“We’ve been in this tournament for four years, and usually, we don’t win a game. And we’ve won two already.”
Bailey Powell led Spring Creek with eight points and four rebounds.
West Torrance (Calif.) 54, Desert Pines 8 — The Jaguars scored just two points in the second half in their loss to the Warriors in pool play later in the day.
Evans-Collins, Heacock, Paulino and Michelle Rhodes each scored two for Desert Pines.
Aztec (N.M.) 41, Palo Verde 29 — Ariana Davis scored a game-high 13 points in the Panthers’ loss to the Tigers in pool play.
Palo Verde, which trailed 23-7 at halftime, pulled within 33-29 after three quarters but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Myra McCaskill had 11 points, and Grace Olson scored 10 for Aztec.
Reno 60, Cimarron-Memorial 31 — Elise Young scored 13 points in the Spartans’ loss to the hot-shooting Huskies in pool play.
Niara Smith added eight points for Cimarron.
Mikayla Shults and Mia Wilmot scored 15 points apiece for Reno, and Dominique Har scored 10. The Huskies connected on eight 3-pointers.
Centennial 74, Valley 27 — Jayden Eggleston and Melanie Isbell each scored 11 points, and the Bulldogs stormed to a 28-6 lead after in the first quarter en route to a dominating victory over the Vikings in pool play.
Lauren Welch had nine points, and Courtney Walker scored eight for Centennial, which made 10 of 11 shots from the free-throw line.
Sondra Scroggins led Valley with eight points.
Dobson (Ariz.) 57, Eldorado 18 — Shakayzzia Hunt scored six points in the Sundevils’ loss to the Mustangs in pool play.
Rayonna Seamster had 15 points, and Shauna Bribiescas scored 10 for Dobson, which led 36-14 at halftime.
Skyline (Utah) 71, Palo Verde 36 — Kedrena Johnson scored seven points in the Panthers’ loss to the Eagles in pool play.
Cameron Mooney led four double-figure scorers with 20 points for Skyline. Sarah Trela-Hoskins had 11 points, and Hannah Anderl and Madison Grange each scored 10 for the Eagles.
Lawrence County (Tenn.) 62, Cimarron-Memorial 18 — Amoura Whitney scored eight points in the Spartans’ loss to the Wildcats in pool play.
Taylor Clark scored a tournament-high 32 points for Lawrence County.
Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) 53, Valley 27 — Michala Eskridge scored nine points in the Vikings’ loss to the Pride in pool play.
Scroggins added eight points for Valley, which trailed 25-8 at halftime.
Jenise Strover had 15 points for Mountain Pointe, and teammates Isela Enriquez and Baily Osmer each scored 12.
Millennium (Ariz.) 69, Eldorado 12 — Azjhane Walker scored four points in the Sundevils’ loss to the Tigers in pool play.
Dominique Phillips had 16 points, and Alaina Diggs scored 12 for Millennium, which led 21-2 after the first quarter and 43-8 at halftime.
Centennial 73, Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) 29 — Samantha Thomas led three double-figure scorers with 18 points to help the Bulldogs top the Pride in pool play.
Thomas scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half for Centennial, which trailed 13-12 with 1:05 to go in the first quarter but used a 33-7 run to close out the half and take a 45-20 lead at the break.
After giving up a quick bucket to start the second quarter, the Bulldogs proceeded to hold Mountain Pointe scoreless for the next six minutes.
Isbell had 15 points, and Eggleston scored 10 for Centennial.
Strover led Mountain Pointe with 15 points.