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Bengals lack size, still on rise

Without peeking, try to guess which Southern Nevada girls basketball team has the best overall record.

Centennial, Bishop Gorman and Silverado all are undefeated, but so is another team — one with more wins than any of the three usual suspects.

Give up yet?

It’s Bonanza.

Yes, Bonanza, a team that graduated both of its starting posts and its shooting guard from last season’s team that finished 16-10.

The Bengals will enter play Saturday in the Lady Wolves Tournament at Basic with a sparkling 9-0 record.

“We knew we had four really solid players coming back,” second-year Bonanza coach Dean Bosch said. “I think a lot of people looked at the seniors we lost and weren’t really sure how it was going to go.

“We have girls that just love to play basketball.”

Bonanza finished third in the Southwest League last season and advanced to the Sunset Region semifinals, but this season’s team might be better. The Bengals already have beaten three playoff teams — Shadow Ridge, Desert Pines and Sunrise runner-up Green Valley — and won the Tip-Off Classic tournament.

“That has given us a lot of confidence,” junior guard Alice Pitts said. “We knew we’d do well, but I didn’t think we’d win the tournament. That gave us a spark.”

The play of Pitts, her older sister Shirley and senior guard Christin Figgins has been the key to the early success. Together, they’re averaging nearly 45 points per game.

The Pitts sisters became eligible at Bonanza in January after transferring from Durango.

“The Pitts sisters give us a tremendous amount of speed. To be able to start the season with them makes a big difference,” Bosch said. “We lost all of our size. We’re extremely short but pretty quick.

“We love to get up and down the floor.”

The speed has led to Bonanza being able to take advantage in transition and recover when it makes a mistake on defense.

“We’re able to play, and that benefits the team more,” Alice Pitts said. “Last year, we didn’t help out when we were sitting on the bench.”

Shirley Pitts, the team’s tallest player at 5 feet 10 inches, is back after missing four games with a fractured right tibia. She is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game.

“Not everybody knew what we had coming back,” Figgins said. “They didn’t know what we had on our bench last year.”

Figgins is one of the area’s most underrated guards. She’s not flashy but does a ton of little things well, her coach says.

“She has a huge heart,” Bosch said. “She does anything you ask her to do. She became, over the offseason, one of our best shooters. We can put her on anybody defensively.”

Junior guard Daytril Beals, junior forward Alex Duncan and senior forward Aimee Doyle also have had good starts to the season.

“We’re above and beyond where we thought we might be at this point,” Bosch said.

And the Bengals are attracting attention. They’re ranked third in this week’s Southern Nevada Class 4A coaches poll and protecting one of the few unbeaten records still on the board.

“We’re just taking one game at a time and not worrying about what’s ahead,” Figgins said.

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