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SMALL SCHOOLS: Chemistry between Marruffo, Marshall keys Mountain View

To say Briana Marruffo and Patrice Marshall have chemistry on the basketball court might be an understatement.

The Mountain View guards always seem to connect on plays, and the potent backcourt has led to a breakout season for the Saints.

“We can read each other’s minds when we’re on the court,” Marshall said. “(Marruffo) can really see the floor. If you’re open, she’ll get the ball to you. You can always count on her.”

The duo will lead Mountain View (21-6) into a Class 2A Southern League semifinal against Needles (23-3) at 3 p.m. Friday at Durango High School. The winner will clinch a spot in Saturday’s title game and, more important, a trip to the 2A state tournament.

Marruffo, a junior point guard, leads the Saints with averages of 14.4 points, 3.4 assists and 3.7 steals. Marshall, a senior shooting guard, adds 12.4 points per game. They have grown to lead vocally and by example.

“Patrice and I have a connection,” Marruffo said. “We’ve been playing with each other since freshman year, and we’ve developed that chemistry. We have so much trust in each other. It makes all of us play better.”

Mountain View already has achieved a historic season, tying for the league title at 12-2 and reaching 20 wins for the first time since rising to 2A in 2008.

Now the Saints are gunning for the first state title in program history. It’s a goal coach Mike Valenzuela said his players realized could be obtained late last season despite missing the playoffs.

“I saw what we had in the works last season and how we were going to have a lot of veteran leadership in our upperclassmen,” Valenzuela said. “Last year we dedicated to becoming better skill-wise and smarter, and that plan has really paid dividends.”

Senior forwards A’Riane Holliday (6.0 points, 4.4 rebounds) and Katelyn Krebs (6.7 rebounds) have been solid in the post, and Jordan Davison is one of the team’s top defenders.

“Our bigs are always undersized, but they’re never outworked,” Valenzuela said. “We’re blessed to have kids who battle and play the unsung role where they clean everything up.”

Calvary Chapel (13-12) will play Lincoln County (15-9) in the other semifinal, at 6:20 p.m. Friday at Durango.

In a Class 3A Southern League girls semifinal, Moapa Valley (10-13) faces Boulder City (12-9) at 5:15 p.m. Thursday at Durango. The winner plays Virgin Valley (18-5) at 6:40 p.m. Saturday at Durango for a trip to the 3A state tournament.

In Thursday’s Class 1A Southern League girls quarterfinals, Round Mountain (5-14) plays Beatty (11-10) at 4:40 p.m. and Indian Springs (12-7) faces Lund (7-10) at 8 at Sunrise Mountain.

In a 3A Southern League boys semifinal, Boulder City (5-11) plays Moapa Valley (13-11) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Durango. The winner meets Virgin Valley (15-9) in the final at 8:20 p.m. Saturday at Durango.

In the 2A Southern League boys semifinals, The Meadows (14-9) plays Needles (16-6) at 4:40 p.m. and Agassi Prep (14-7) meets Lincoln County (24-6) at 8 on Friday at Durango.

In Thursday’s 1A Southern League boys quarterfinals, Sandy Valley (3-11) plays Spring Mountain (10-13) at 3 p.m. and Round Mountain (12-10) meets Tonopah (7-13) at 6:20 at Sunrise Mountain.

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