Diamondbacks squander big lead but top ‘Blazers

Winning at home can be key to a team’s postseason hopes.

But Desert Oasis boys basketball coach Ken Gibson knows the lessons his team learned from Thursday’s 72-71 home win over Durango might be just as big.

The Diamondbacks, in their second year of competition, dominated in the first half, leading by as much as 17, before holding on for the narrow Southwest League win.

"We definitely are going to learn some lessons from a game like tonight," Gibson said. "We still are fairly young, and we’ve got guys that love basketball and want to play, and they’ll learn from a situation like tonight. And hopefully we won’t let somebody back in a game like that again."

Durango looked lethargic in the first half, attacking Desert Oasis’ 3-2 zone with the kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for math homework.

"Their zone is actually pretty good. It kind of lulls you to sleep there, and we kind of got caught sleeping," Trailblazers coach DeShawn Henry said. "We were able to regroup at halftime and come out with some intensity."

Durango forced nine third-quarter turnovers and tied the score at 42 on two free throws by Donovan Williams with four seconds to go in the third quarter.

"We played a great first half, and then we came out a little slow in the second half," Gibson said.

Desert Oasis got a break when Cameron Mich’l was fouled attempting a desperation 60-foot heave at the end of the third quarter. He hit two of three free throws, and the Diamondbacks led the rest of the way.

Durango got as close as 63-62 on a three-point play by Williams with 1:16 to play.

Desert Oasis was 15-for-21 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, led by sophomore Anthony Lianzo, who was 11-for-15.

Cameron Jefferson hit one of two foul shots with 10 seconds left, and that turned out to be the final margin as Williams nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Mich’l and Lianzo each scored 24 points for Desert Oasis, which improved to 3-0 in the Southwest.

Williams had 19 points, all in the second half, and nine rebounds for Durango.

Contact Prep Sports Editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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