GATOR CLASSIC: Foothill’s defense clamps down on Durango

Foothill girls basketball coach Laura Allen had a simple explanation for her team’s slow start.

It was all her fault.

“We’re not typically a pressing team, but I tried to tell them, ‘Hey, let’s see what we can do in a press.’ And it’s just not our style,” Allen said. “That might have thrown us off a little, because I asked my kids to do something that we’re not really used to doing.”

The Falcons backed off their full-court press late in the first quarter Tuesday and held Durango to two field goals the rest of the way in a 58-20 victory during pool play in the Gator Winter Classic at Green Valley.

Trinity Betoney led Foothill (7-4) with 19 points and five rebounds despite resting the entire fourth quarter.

Foothill forced 31 turnovers and held the Trailblazers to 4-for-28 shooting from the field. Durango went 12:50 without a field goal, including the entire third quarter.

“I really like our team in the halfcourt,” Allen said. “I know it’s not typical. I know everybody wants to be a pressing team, and that’s the style of play a lot these days. But with our size, we’re not a pressing team, and that’s OK. I like the identity that we have of our team. We don’t have to be anybody else.”

Durango (3-8) led 9-7 less than four minutes into the first quarter, but the Falcons responded with a 17-0 run and led 27-14 at halftime.

Foothill then opened the second half by scoring eight straight points off four turnovers, as Betoney had three of her seven steals. The Falcons outscored Durango 21-3 in the third quarter to pull away.

“I thought this was a team we could put pressure on and make them feel uncomfortable, and we could get something easy, maybe,” Allen said. “We got a couple of (steals) and got some fast breaks. It helps us when we have a variety of people scoring and playing defense like that.”

Analiyah Matthews led the Trailblazers with seven points and six rebounds.

Keilani Brown had 11 points, six rebounds and two steals, and Crystal Davis grabbed eight rebounds for Foothill.

“Once we got rolling, we started figuring out where the passes were,” Allen said. “Sometimes when we force things too early, too fast, it doesn’t work out. When we’re patient and take our time, we’re a much better team.”

Mainland (New Zealand) 61, Durango 21 — Analiyah Matthews had 12 points in the Trailblazers’ loss to the Eagles to open pool play.

Amiee Book had a game-high 18 points for Mainland, which outscored Durango 20-4 in the third quarter after leading 27-12 at halftime.

Olivia O’Neill added 10 points for Mainland.

Foothill 55, Rancho 38 — Kylie Vint had 14 points, and the Falcons used a big second quarter to beat the Rams in pool play.

Betoney added 12 points, and Keilani Brown scored 11 for Foothill, which outscored Rancho 17-3 in the second to lead 32-16 at halftime.

Kyndal Ricks had a game-high 16 points for the Rams, and teammate Lea Williams had 11 points.

Mainland (New Zealand) 68, Rancho 25 — Ricks’ 18 points weren’t enough in the Rams’ loss to the Eagles in pool play.

Book finished with 33 points and made five of Mainland’s 10 3-pointers. Tsubasa Nisbet added 12 points for the Eagles, who led 44-10 at halftime.

Liberty 53, Del Sol 5 — London Pavlica had 13 points as the Patriots overwhelmed the Dragons in pool play.

Dre’una Edwards, Janae Nickels and Amanda Pemberton each finished with 10 points for Liberty, which led 34-2 after the first quarter and held the Dragons scoreless in the second quarter.

Fernley 33, Boulder City 23 — Madison Manns had 11 points in the Eagles’ loss to the Vaqueros in pool play.

Fernley’s Hailee Edgar had 10 of her game-high 12 points in the second half, and teammate Grace DeLeon added eight points.

Boulder City trailed 21-20 entering the fourth quarter but was outscored 12-3 in the final eight minutes. Edgar and DeLeon each had four points in the fourth.

Dimond (Alaska) 72, Boulder City 22 — Keely Alexander had six points in the Eagles’ loss to the Lynx in pool play.

Alissa Pili, one of the nation’s top players in the class of 2019, had 18 of her 31 points in the first half to help Dimond surge to a 46-11 lead at the break.

Jahnna Hajdukovich made five of the Lynx’s 10 3-pointers and finished with 23 points, and teammate Seanne Bialo scored 14.

Spring Valley 66, Las Vegas 45 — Essence Booker had 24 points, and the Grizzlies routed the Wildcats in pool play.

Booker made two 3-pointers and had eight points in the third quarter when Spring Valley outscored Las Vegas 19-7 to turn a 15-point halftime advantage into a 54-27 lead.

Harris had all nine of her points in the first half for the Grizzlies.

Armonnie Byrd had 10 of her team-high 17 points in the first half for Las Vegas, and teammate Raymani Bordenave added nine points.

Spring Valley 57, Moapa Valley 31 — Lynnae Wilds led a balanced scoring attack with 12 points, and the Grizzlies overcame a slow start to rout the Pirates in pool play.

Kayla Harris added 10 points for Spring Valley, which used a 20-6 run in the second quarter to lead 33-15 at halftime.

Ten of Spring Valley’s 12 players scored.

Lainey Cornwall led Moapa Valley with 12 points.

Chugiak (Alaska) 60, Moapa Valley 57 — Cornwall finished with 20 points, but the Pirates couldn’t hold an 11-point halftime advantage and lost to the Mustangs in pool play.

Shelbi Walker had eight of her 14 points in the first half to help Moapa Valley take a 38-27 lead. But Chugiak hit four of its nine 3-pointers and went on a 19-6 run in the third quarter to take the lead.

Selden scored 13 points in the second half and finished with a game-high 24 for the Mustangs. Pinckney added 14 points, including four 3-pointers.

Chugiak (Alaska) 56, Las Vegas 32 — Jasmine Perez finished with a game-high 19 points in the Wildcats’ loss to the Mustangs.

Las Vegas trailed 32-12 at halftime before Perez had eight points in the third quarter when the Wildcats outscored Chugiak 17-10.

Nicole Pinckney led the Mustangs with 14 points, including four of her team’s seven 3-pointers, and teammate Chasity Selden added 12 points.

Needles 56, Tech 38 — Jayne Antone dropped in 13 of her 17 points in the first half, and the Mustangs rolled past the Roadrunners in pool play.

Breanna Chavez had 12 points for Needles, which led by as many as 33 points in the third quarter before Tech rallied in the fourth.

Tayler Muwwakkil finished with a game-high 20 points for Tech.

Needles 51, Silverado 30 — Chavez had nine of her 15 points in the first half to lead the Mustangs past the Skyhawks in pool play.

Antone and Preslee Murch each added 13 points for Needles, which opened the game on a 15-1 run.

Kimberlyn Tanner led Silverado with nine points, and teammate Sidni Wise-Wright had eight points.

Spanish Springs 44, Silverado 20 — Wise-Wright led the Skyhawks with six points in their loss to the Cougars.

Amidori Anderson and Anhelica Shanrock each finished with nine points for Spanish Springs, which opened the game on a 20-0 run.

Ten of the 11 players for Spanish Springs scored at least two points.

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