Ashley Gayle is listed as 6 feet 4 inches.
To Durango’s girls basketball team on Friday, the Bishop Gorman senior looked more like 10 feet tall with the wingspan of a jet plane.
Gayle, a University of Texas signee, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked four shots in the first half as Gorman pulled away to a 74-43 road win.
The Gaels (24-4, 12-0 Southwest) clinched the division title. Durango (25-5, 10-2) finished second.
“She’s the best defensive player in the country,” Gorman coach Sheryl Krmpotich said. “Ashley is amazing. Her timing, her ability to block shots allows us to be so aggressive.”
Gayle kept the Trailblazers from establishing offense inside, while her teammates took away Durango’s bread and butter, the 3-point shot.
“With Ashley, it’s so hard to find where you’re going to get decent shots,” Durango coach John Bartleson said. “Obviously, it’s not in the paint with her around.”
The Trailblazers made 10 of 50 shots and didn’t sink a 3-pointer until Mia Bell’s 25-footer with 32 seconds left in the third quarter. Durango missed its first 12 3-point tries.
“We wanted to make them drive because we knew we had Ashley and Dannielle (Diamant, a 6-3 junior) inside,” Krmpotich said.
Gayle went out to help defend the perimeter in the second half, flying at Durango’s shooters. She finished with eight points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.
Gorman, meanwhile, worked effectively inside and outside on offense, making 30 of 47 field-goal attempts, including six 3-pointers.
Darriel Gaynor had 19 points for the Gaels. Aaryn Ellenberg added 18 points, and Yahindra Edwards came off the bench to score 13.
Lindy La Rocque led Durango with 19 points, nine fewer than her average, on 4-for-21 shooting. Bell added 13 points.
• Clark 50, Spring Valley 32 — At Clark, Chantelle Robinson recorded 19 points, five assists and six steals to help the Chargers to a victory.
Angelena Cook added 15 points for Clark, and Alicia Wilbert had six points and 19 rebounds. Tarah Murphy pulled down 15 rebounds for the Chargers.
Tierra Newman paced the Grizzlies with 13 points.
• Coronado 45, Del Sol 10 — At Del Sol, Jessica Smith scored 11 points to lead the Cougars past the Dragons.
• Green Valley 74, Liberty 46 — At Green Valley, Victoria Naylor had 23 points and 12 assists as the Gators finished undefeated in the Southeast Division.
Jazmine Jarvis added 22 points, Danielle Christenson 12 points and Vajae Robinson 11 rebounds for Green Valley.
Amanda Delgado led the Patriots with 20 points.
• Basic 42, Tech 35 — At Tech, Maya Darby scored 16 points to help lift the Wolves.
Despite the loss, the Roadrunners qualified for the playoffs by virtue of Liberty’s loss to Green Valley.
Mechel’la Logan scored 23 points to pace Tech.
• Silverado 57, Foothill 20 — At Foothill, Jessica Schmidt had 18 points for the Skyhawks, who held the Falcons scoreless in the second quarter.
Mikayla Thielges and Shea Collins each added 11 points for the Skyhawks.
• Legacy 65, Arbor View 26 — At Legacy, Kindrea Poole had 15 points and 14 rebounds and Jackie Burton 13 points to lead the Longhorns.
Erika Lang scored 11 points for the Aggies.
• Shadow Ridge 45, Cheyenne 38 — At Shadow Ridge, Elisha Hensey scored 14 points to help the Mustangs prevail.
Cheyana Slocum added 13 points for Shadow Ridge, which trailed 13-9 after the first quarter. Ayoola Weaver scored 11 points to lead the Desert Shields.
• Centennial 107, Cimarron-Memorial 32 — At Centennial, Dela Jones had a game-high 27 points to lead six Bulldogs scorers in double figures.
Deanna Daniels had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Rashawnda Gray 15 points for Centennial.
Catherine Wyre scored 12 points to lead Cimarron.
• Mojave 57, Palo Verde 41 — At Mojave, Chelsea Hopkins scored 12 of her game-high 28 points in the third quarter as the Rattlers outscored the Panthers 24-2 to erase a six-point halftime lead.
Hopkins added nine steals and eight assists, and teammate Clarissa Cannon scored 14 points.
Mikala Pride scored 21 points and Brittany Stanley 12 to lead Palo Verde.
• Lund 58, Indian Springs 30 — At Indian Springs, Katie Whipple led three Mustangs scorers in double figures with 16 points.
Keisha Stewart added 15 points for Lund.
• Virgin Valley 57, Boulder City 38 — At Mesquite, Courtney Spawn scored 16 points to lead the Bulldogs to a victory over the Eagles.
Virgin Valley’s Rachel Morris logged nine blocks to set a state record with 149 on the season.