When Mia Bell scored Durango’s first 11 points Saturday, it looked as if she again would account for most of the Trailblazers’ offense.
She did, but the senior guard also had plenty of support once 5-foot-4-inch freshman guard Jasmine Suarez checked in.
Bell finished with 33 points, Suarez made five 3-pointers on her way to 17 points and Durango held on for a 58-55 home win over Pahrump Valley in the Southwest League.
“I’m glad me and my team got it together at the end,” said Suarez, who said she once made 11 3-pointers in an eighth-grade game. “It’s two of our girls’ senior years, and we want them to finish it off great.”
One of those seniors, UNLV signee Bell, also had eight rebounds and three assists.
Durango (17-9, 7-4) avenged a 51-40 loss at Pahrump Valley on Wednesday. By opening a one-game lead over the Trojans for fourth place in the Southwest, the Trailblazers control their fate in trying to reach the Sunset Region Tournament for a fifth straight season.
“This is a huge win,” Durango coach Lindsay Callaghan said. “If we didn’t win this, we were kind of looking at maybe being left out of the playoffs. I didn’t want that to happen in Mia’s senior year.”
Alyson Kunzi had 14 points and nine rebounds to lead Pahrump Valley (15-12, 6-5). Kristi Daffer added 13 points and six rebounds, and Toitisha Simmons had seven points and nine assists.
But the Trojans never led despite rallying from a 32-21 halftime deficit to tie the game at 52 on Daffer’s three-point play with less than 1:30 to go.
“Defensively, we gave up too many open (shots) and didn’t rotate well enough,” Trojans coach Jason Odegard said. “When you dig yourself that big a hole, it’s tough to get back against a team like (Durango).”
None of Suarez’s 3-pointers was bigger than one she made from the wing on an assist from Bell in the final 10 seconds of the first half. The tandem combined to score Durango’s first 19 points.
Pahrump Valley clawed back, using a 15-8 edge in the third quarter to get within four. After the Trojans tied the score at 52, Bell shot 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final minute.