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Freshman guard leads Wildcats to road win over Pioneers

It hasn’t taken long for point guard Shomari Harris to establish herself as a leader on Las Vegas High’s girls basketball team.

Harris, a freshman, had 16 points and 11 assists Friday to lead the Wildcats to a 68-61 road win over Canyon Springs and a tie for first with Desert Pines in the Northeast League.

“I look at her when she plays and I say ‘She’s a freshman?’” Las Vegas coach Jen Brown said. “She has a maturity with her game that most girls her age just do not have.”

The Wildcats (10-9, 5-1 Northeast) led 20-12 after the first quarter, but the Pioneers locked down the second quarter to lead 33-30 at the break.

Harris had 12 points in the first half, and broke up three 6-0 runs by Canyon Springs with key buckets.

“As a freshman, nobody expects me to do much,” Harris said. “But I just look for my teammates and if they’re not open, then I know I have to make a play. Playing varsity basketball is pretty hard as a freshman, but after a while you begin to understand what to look for. I just keep working hard and just because I’m a freshman doesn’t mean I can’t play.”

Forward Kenosha Wright paced the Pioneers (12-10, 4-2 Northeast) with 17 points, including 10 in the first half.

“She’s so consistent and gives us a double-double almost every night,” Canyon Springs coach Analese Alvarez said of Wright. “I always know that we can rely on her. Unfortunately, we just came out flat in the second half and could never catch up.”

Las Vegas outscored the Pioneers 19-14 in both the third and fourth quarters, with Harris contributing eight assists in the half.

Canyon Springs’ Faith Harper finished the game with nine points, including two free throws that tied the game at 47-47. Harris answered with a baseline jumper to start the fourth quarter, giving the Wildcats the lead for good.

Shante Thomas, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds, converted a three-point play with 1:55 left to pull the Pioneers to within four points at 65-61.

Thomas missed a contested layup that would have cut the gap to two. Las Vegas’ Courtney Ladson pulled down the rebound and heaved the ball to Milana Jones, who converted the fast-break layup to seal the win with 35 seconds to play.

Brown said it felt good to beat Canyon Springs, which defeated Las Vegas by one point in a November tournament game.

“Their whole team plays tough and they have worked really hard to turn around their program,” she said. “It feels good to beat a team like that because they’re legitimate and very well-rounded.”

Jones had 14 points for the Wildcats, and Ladson and Shelby Nelson each added 12 from the bench.
 

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