SIERRA VISTA INVITE: Cougars’ depth exhausts shorthanded Warriors

Coronado’s girls basketball team almost has enough players to fill three starting lineups.

On Tuesday night, the Cougars’ opponent had just enough to fill a starting lineup once — and finished the game with only four players.

Yet it took Coronado more than three quarters and a lot of stress to finally pull away and record a 51-19 win over an outmanned Western in the Sierra Vista Invitational.

Coronado will face Legacy in a semifinal at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

“We kept playing into their hands for most of the game,” Coronado coach Bill Crego said. “I told them to play off (on defense) and not get into foul trouble, because that was the only thing that could hurt us.”

The Warriors played a morning game with six players — mostly the result of absences during winter break — and one of those six didn’t return for the 6 p.m. tipoff, leaving Western without any bench options.

Yet after falling behind 16-4 in the first quarter, the Warriors rallied against Coronado’s bench to close within 17-14 at the half and tied the game on a free throw early in the third quarter.

Sofie Cruz’s transition basket with 4:11 to play in the third quarter gave Coronado the lead for good at 19-17, but Western was still within 21-19 after a Brittany Moreland hoop with two minutes left in the quarter.

“We finally started to turn it on at the end of the third quarter,” Crego said.

The Warriors didn’t score again.

Coronado came up with a steal on six consecutive Western possessions in the fourth quarter and repeatedly cashed in transition buckets as the Warriors gasped for air.

Moreland left with an injury with 4:01 to play, forcing Western to finish the game with four players.

The Warriors even used three timeouts in the fourth quarter, but had nothing left in the tank and couldn’t keep up with Coronado, which improved to 3-1 in the tournament, taking bigger advantage of its transition game throughout.

“We’re playing the same way we’ve always played, but we’ve got more girls who can put the ball in the basket,” Crego said. “We’ve always been a running team, but people were getting back on us because teams were faster. Now we’ve got some girls with good quickness.”

Cruz finished with 18 points, and Lexi Melone scored 10 for Coronado, which substituted 21 times to Western’s none.

Jocelyn Jordan led Western with seven points.

Legacy 41, Gleneagle (Canada) 31 — Leilani White’s free throw with 1:09 to play forced overtime, and the Longhorns outscored the Talons, 10-0 in the extra period to move into the semifinals.

Tori Payne scored 20 points, including eight in overtime, for Legacy, which survived three Gleneagle shot attempts in the final minute of regulation.

Jessica Jazdarehee led the Talons with 15 points.

Palo Verde 59, Silverado 39 — Jasmin Kiley tallied 21 points, and the Panthers used a 20-9 fourth-quarter burst to down the Skyhawks in a quarterfinal.

Mikayla Diers added 16 points, and Lily Tapusoa scored 12 for Palo Verde, which will play Liberty in a semifinal at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Brittany Loguidice led Silverado with 10 points.

Liberty 68, Sierra Vista 20 — Sydney Clark scored 21 points in the first three quarters as the Patriots cruised past the Mountain Lions and into the semifinals.

Alena Evans added 13 points for Liberty, which held Sierra Vista to three points in the second half.

Melia Tadytin paced Sierra Vista with eight points.

Coronado 49, Gleneagle (Canada) 35 — Cruz scored 19 points, and the Cougars built a 42-20 lead after three quarters and cruised to the win.

Jazdarehee had 15 points, and Chiara Bordignon scored 10 for the Talons.

Legacy 54, Western 33 — Neisha Jackson led a balanced attack with 10 points as the Longhorns downed the Warriors.

Moreland led Western with 14 points.

Liberty 75, Silverado 32 — Clark poured in 22 points to help the Patriots rout the Skyhawks.
Evans added 17 points for Liberty.

Jessica Meyers paced Silverado with 15 points.

Palo Verde 59, Sierra Vista 39 — Tapusoa had 16 points, and the Panthers used a 28-0 run during parts of the second and third quarters on their way to a win over the Mountain Lions.

Kiley scored 13 points, and Meiko Taylor added 10 points for Palo Verde.

Tadytin paced Sierra Vista with 21 points.