For three quarters Thursday, Bishop Gorman’s girls basketball team got by without a true point guard.
The Gaels, who graduated a pair of all-state guards last season, still are searching for solid ball handlers.
And it showed in the final eight minutes of their game with Skyline (Utah). The Eagles forced 12 turnovers in the final quarter and rallied to post a 59-57 win over host Gorman in the Las Vegas Invitational.
“When you lose a point and a 2-guard from last year, you’re shifting kids around,” said Gorman coach Sheryl Krmpotich. “It’s a different transition for them playing in a different spot and learning each other’s game.”
Gorman (1-1) led by as many as 16 points late in the third quarter, using an 18-2 run that included nine points off of Skyline turnovers to build a 44-28 lead.
The Gaels were fabulous in the third quarter, shooting 12 of 18 from the field as they built on a 23-20 halftime lead.
“Our defense became our best offense,” Krmpotich said.
Raychel Stanley, a 6-foot-2-inch sophomore post, had nine points in the run and caused matchup problems for Skyline, but when Stanley collected her fourth foul on a three-point play by Skyline’s Hillary Weixler with 6:57 to go in the game, everything went south for the Gaels.
Stanley went to the bench, and Skyline whittled a 52-40 deficit to 55-50 before Stanley returned to the game — and fouled out just 30 seconds later. Gorman, which committed just nine turnovers in the first three quarters, had 11 in the final seven minutes.
“When you lose your middle piece who does more for you offensively and defensively, it takes a big chunk out,” said Krmpotich. “We’re limited on rotation right now this year. Just a lot of silly turnovers.
“When we become stagnant, that’s when we miss a point guard.”
Olivia Elliss’ three-point play with 1:30 left gave the Eagles a 56-55 lead.
Gorman’s Maddison Washington made two free throws with 1:18 left to reclaim the lead for the Gaels, but a transition basket by Sydnee Taylor with 39 seconds to go gave the Eagles the lead for good.
Gorman’s Megan Jacobs came up short on an 18-foot jumper with 10 seconds left, but Skyline’s Mia Mortenson traveled after getting the rebound, giving the Gaels one more chance.
Skyline’s Shaylana Davis came up with a steal and hit 1 of 2 free throws with three seconds left, and the Eagles grabbed the rebound of the missed free throw to end the game.
Taylor had 22 points, and Weixler scored 13 for Skyline.
Maddison Washington led Gorman with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Stanley had 14 points, Jacobs 12 and Sandria Bolden 11 for the Gaels.