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Wright’s clutch free throws lift Pioneers girls to victory

Nerves are something of a new phenomenon for Canyon Springs’ girls basketball team.

So are game-winning free throws with 6.3 seconds left.

Neither seemed to faze Kenosha Wright on Wednesday.

The junior post put an exclamation point on a stunning fourth quarter by making two free throws to lift the Pioneers past Desert Pines 58-57 in a key Northeast League game.

“So much pressure,” Wright said. “I knew I had to do it for the team.”

Wright scored 16 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter, but none as nerve-racking as the final two that helped Canyon Springs (14-10, 6-2) stay in its first Northeast League race in recent memory.

With the Jaguars (11-11, 6-2) leading 57-56, Canyon Springs’ Diamond Broadus attempted a stick-back basket that bounced five times on the rim before falling into Wright’s hands.

Wright was fouled on her shot attempt. Her first free throw hit the back of the rim, then the front, kicked into the air, bounced off the back of the rim again and fell through.

“I didn’t know if it was going to go in, and it just fell through,” Wright said. “It bounced around forever.”

Her second was perfect, giving Canyon Springs the lead in a game in which it trailed 37-28 entering the fourth quarter but rallied by hitting four field goals in a span of 35 seconds.

“We’re capable of that level of basketball,” said Canyon Springs coach Analese Alvarez, whose team had 41 turnovers. “It’s a consistency issue why we don’t always do it.”

Desert Pines drove the length of the floor but missed a layup as time expired.

Wright added 16 rebounds. Shante Thomas had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Pioneers.

LaBrea Walker led Desert Pines with 21 points.

Canyon Springs doubled its overall and league win total from last season, when it went 7-18, and stayed within one game of first-place Las Vegas in the Northeast.

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5230.

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