Dexter helps Coronado find way against Elko

The Coronado girls basketball team hasn’t faced adversity often this season.

The Cougars won eight of their first 11 games entering Tuesday’s opening game of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic at Centennial.

But without one of their top players, having already lost a morning game and sputtering on offense in the first quarter of their contest against Elko, the Cougars looked anything but confident.

Enter Sarah Dexter.

The senior guard came off the bench to score 13 points and lead the Cougars to a 43-31 win over Elko.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in her,” Coronado coach Bill Crego said. “She helped us a lot, offensively and defensively.”

Missing starting wing Sofie Cruz due to an ankle injury, the Cougars had trouble on offense, failing to score in the first 4 minutes, 18 seconds of the game until finally splitting a pair of free throws.

Fortunately for the Cougars (9-4), they were down only 4-1.

Dexter tallied seven points in the first half as Coronado erased the early deficit and took a 21-10 halftime lead. Lexi Melone and Nicole Ruffino each added six first-half points for the Cougars.

“We’ve got lots of people who can score, but we didn’t handle their pressure well (early),” Crego said.

Coronado was fantastic on defense, limiting the Indians to just four first-half field goals and giving its offense enough time to get in synch.

“We were struggling in the beginning of the first half, but our defense really came through,” Crego said. “We play pretty good defense most of the time.”

The Indians never seriously threatened in the second half as Coronado upped the margin to 34-17 and cruised to the win.

Coronado had played well in the first half of its morning game against Dobson (Ariz.), but saw a 29-26 halftime lead slip away as Dobson stormed to a 68-52 win.

“I was really disappointed in the way we came out flat in the third quarter,” Crego said. “I don’t think the win (against Elko) was as important as just playing a full game. We moved the ball real well. Mentally, we didn’t make too many mistakes. We were just a lot better.”

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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