First-year Bishop Gorman girls basketball coach Kevin Nixon was hoping for a win on Tuesday, but he was willing to settle for a competitive game.
His team put together an impressive second-half rally before finally falling to Oklahoma’s Putnam City West 66-64 in the Tarkanian Classic’s Diamond Division third-place game at Durango.
Skylar Jackson had 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals to lead the Gaels, who took a late lead after trailing 35-27 at halftime.
“We lost two games in this tournament, but it was great for us to see top-level competition,” Nixon said. “This helped us see where we’re at and what we have to work on. We’ve got a very young team.”
Gorman controlled the pace early, grabbing a 14-10 lead when Jackson nailed an 11-foot jumper with 11:38 remaining in the first half.
But Ce’Nara Skanes’ aggressive inside play helped turn things around for the Patriots, who took a 22-16 lead with a 6-0 run midway through the half. Gorman was unable to keep Skanes out the lane, and she went on to score 17 of her game-high 25 points in the first half.
Putnam City West led 35-27 at halftime.
The Gaels battled back in the second half, primarily by preventing Skanes from driving to the hoop.
“We went to a zone,” Nixon said. “It was my first time playing zone, but we had to shut (Skanes) down.”
Gorman tied the score at 43 when Jackson nailed a 12-footer to complete an 8-0 scoring spurt with 7:55 remaining. The Gaels finally got their first second-half lead when Quinece Hatcher hit a layup to make it 53-51 with 4:42 remaining.
“I’m proud of the way the girls fought back,” Nixon said. “As their coach, that’s what I want to see.”
But the Patriots pulled ahead in the final minutes. Shaira Young nailed a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left to cut the Gaels’ deficit to 65-64, but a late free throw by Putnam City West sealed the win.
Nixon said his team accomplished what it set out to do.
“We played some top-quality teams to the buzzer,” he said. “We could have won this game easily.”
Georgia Ohiaeri logged 11 points and six rebounds to help Gorman. Teammate Caira Young added 14 points.
Liberty 47, Spring Valley 46 — The Grizzlies were unable to score on their last possession, and the Patriots escaped with a victory in the Tarkanian Classic.
Dre’una Edwards scored 13 points to lead Liberty, which rallied after trailing 30-25 at halftime. Teammate Amanda Pemberton added 12 points.
Kayla Harris and Alyssa Scott each scored 11 points to lead Spring Valley.
Desert Oasis 42, Mt. Miguel (Calif.) 20 — At Durango, Eliyjah Pricebrooks scored 11 points to help the Diamondbacks beat the Matadors in the Tarkanian Classic.
Taryn Lampkin and Dajaah Lightfoot each added nine points for Desert Oasis, which rolled after jumping to a 20-10 halftime lead.
Desert Pines 36, Silverado 28 — At Durango, See’Airrah Evans-Collins scored 16 points to help the Jaguars defeat the Skyhawks in the Tarkanian Classic.
Elasjanae Burns added 10 points to help Desert Pines, which led 23-16 at halftime.
Kimberlyn Tanner and Jasmine Waugh each scored eight points to lead Silverado.
HB Academy (New Zealand) 61, Green Valley 43 — At Durango, Zoe Ebbitt scored 16 points to help the HB Academy take control early en route to a victory over the Gators in the Tarkanian Classic.
Shelby Clark scored 11 points to lead Green Valley, and teammate Jamaica Lewis added 10 points.
Mullen (Colo.) 42, Coronado 29 — At Durango, Whitney Jacob scored 21 points to help the Mustangs cruise past the Cougars in the Tarkanian Classic.
Haley Tyrell led Coronado with 12 points.
Calexico (Calif.) 45, Durango 37 — At Durango, Monique Carrasco scored 14 points to help the Bulldogs take control early and hang on for a victory over the Trailblazers in the Tarkanian Classic.
Laila Loring led Durango with 14 points, and teammate Rianne Lu added 11 points.
Western 2, South Gate (Calif.) 0 — At Durango, the Warriors won by forfeit in the Tarkanian Classic.
Clovis West (Calif.) 57, Centennial 42 — At Phoenix, Tess Amundsen had 16 points as the Golden Eagles topped the Bulldogs in the Tournament of Champions.
Samantha Thomas led Centennial with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and teammate Justice Ethridge scored 12 points.
Mojave 54, Marina (Calif.) 37 — At Mountain View, Charleea Armstrong scored 19 points, and the Rattlers used a strong fourth quarter to turn back the Vikings in the Vegas Invitational.
Savannah Blanchard-Davis added 15 points for Mojave, which outscored Marina 19-5 in the fourth quarter.
Michelle Esparza led Marina with 12 points.
Mojave 57, Needles 37 — At Mountain View, Armstrong had 18 points to help the Rattlers move into the semifinals of the Vegas Invitational with a win over the Mustangs.
Savannah Blanchard-Davis added 17 points, and Kiara Lemon scored 15 for Mojave, which will face El Rancho (Calif.) in a semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The Rattlers made 11 3-pointers, led by Blanchard-Davis, who hit five.
Jayne Antone led Needles with 15 points.
Agassi Prep 53, Brethren Christian (Calif.) 8 — At Mountain View, Sharmayne Finley had 12 points as the Stars routed the Warriors in the Vegas Invitational.
Raylene Thomas added nine points for Agassi Prep, which led 22-2 after one quarter and 33-6 at the half.
Marina (Calif.) 55, Clark 40 — At Mountain View, Tricia Fukuzawa had 14 points to lead the Vikings by the Chargers in the Vegas Invitational.
Marieka Dent paced Clark with 11 points, and teammate Adia Williams scored 10.
Sierra Lutheran 33, Mountain View 18 — At Mountain View, Brynna Hansen had 10 points, and the Falcons used a 28-8 scoring advantage in the second half to down the Saints in the Vegas Invitational.
Tayah De’Bouck led Mountain View with 13 points.
Chadwick School (Calif.) 54, Bonanza 36 — At Mountain View, Madison Benson scored 15 points, and the Dolphins used a quick start to down the Bengals in the Vegas Invitational.
Kate Chappell added 12 points for Chadwick, which led 16-0 after one quarter.
Madie Gonzalez paced Bonanza with 23 points.
El Rancho (Calif.) 59, Shadow Ridge 38 — At Mountain View, Destiny Reyes scored 13 points to lead the Dons by the Mustangs in the Vegas Invitational.
Monica Guido added 10 points for El Rancho, which grabbed a 28-5 first-quarter lead and upped the margin to 45-11 at the half.
Alexa Martins had 14 points for Shadow Ridge.