Lindsay Callaghan would have been wise to have had a tape recorder running during her halftime speech Thursday.
The Durango girls basketball coach passed along some words of encouragement, then watched her team take all of 31/2 minutes to erase a nine-point deficit on its way to a 60-51 victory.
After struggling to score in the first half of their game at Bonanza, the Trailblazers wiped out a 29-20 halftime deficit with a 10-0 run to start the third quarter and outscored the Bengals 40-22 in the second half on the way to a key Southwest League win.
Durango (21-9, 10-4 Southwest) all but locked up a playoff spot. The Trailblazers have a two-game lead over fifth-place Pahrump Valley with two games remaining. Bonanza (22-3, 11-2) remained in second place in the Southwest but fell 21/2 games behind Bishop Gorman and probably lost its chance to claim the league’s top seed.
"It was a little bit of both," Callaghan said of her halftime speech and her team’s inspired play. "We came out a little flat offensively. We were settling for long jump shots, and they got rebounds and got easy baskets. We switched some things up in the second half."
Bonanza’s 1-3-1 zone defense seemed to confuse Durango early. Of the Trailblazers’ 24 first-half field goal attempts, 16 were 3-pointers; they made only three of them.
"The funny thing is we play a 1-3-1 zone, so we practice every day against a 1-3-1 zone," Callaghan said.
Senior guard Mia Bell, who scored 52 points against Clark on Wednesday, had seven of Durango’s points in the 10-0 run. She scored 24 of her 32 points in the second half and added 18 rebounds.
Durango used a 17-2 run in the fourth quarter to take a 57-44 lead and put away the game. The Trailblazers made 15 of 23 free throws in the period.
"In the first half, we made great decision," said Bonanza coach Dean Bosch. "When they made their run in the second half, we started forcing shots. We brought our zone out too far. That allowed Mia to penetrate."
Shirley Pitts led Bonanza with 17 points, 11 in the first half.
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5230.In-depth high school sports coverage
THURSDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS BOYS Chris Perry scored 33 points to help Desert Pines nip visiting Las Vegas, 78-74. Marcus Falley scored 13 points and Dario Jokic had 11 in the fourth quarter to help Durango to a 87-77 win at Bonanza. GIRLS Desiree Ppierce had 21 points as Chaparral edged visiting Rancho, 56-54.Western’s Tracy Parks grabbed 20 rebounds in a 48-28 home win over Spring Valley.