Moapa Valley girls basketball coach Stuart Humes insisted he never lost faith in his team’s ability to win Thursday.
Not even after the Pirates failed to score in the first quarter of their game at Desert Pines.
His faith was rewarded.
Moapa Valley battled back from a 13-0 deficit to nip the Jaguars 32-31 and maintain their hold on fourth place in the Division I-A Sunrise League.
“I knew that if our girls just came out and executed the game plan that we would have a chance,” Humes said. “If we were able to handle the early pressure, we would have a chance.
“Boy, did they prove me right. They could have let it get away from them, but they kept believing in the game plan.”
Summer Evans’ short baseline jumper with 40.8 seconds to play gave the Pirates a 32-31 lead, and Moapa Valley forced turnovers on Desert Pines’ final two possessions to preserve a win that looked highly unlikely after a dreadful start.
The Pirates (11-9, 5-3 Sunrise) were 0-for-7 with five turnovers and no offensive rebounds on 12 first-quarter possessions and trailed 13-0.
Kyla Shumway hit two free throws with seven minutes left in the second quarter to get the Pirates on the board and spark a 12-0 run.
Evans hit the team’s first basket, converting a three-on-one break for a transition layup with 4:35 to go in the quarter.
“Once the girls understood the way the game was going to be played and how it was going to be called, they were able to execute,” Humes said.
Shelbi Walker drained a 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:05 to go in the third quarter to give Moapa Valley its first lead at 23-21, and the Pirates extended the advantage to 28-21 early in the fourth before Desert Pines (10-10, 6-2) rallied to take a 31-30 lead on a Jordan Bailey free throw with 3:17 to go.
After starting the game by missing its first 13 field-goal attempts, the Pirates were 11-for-21 from the field the rest of the way.
Evans led all scorers with 18 points, including all nine of the team’s points in the fourth quarter.
“Summer was huge,” Humes said.
Desert Pines went three of 24 from the field in the middle quarters, allowing the Pirates to get back into the game.
Chrystian Myles, who scored 14 points when the Jaguars defeated Moapa Valley in the teams’ first meeting, led Desert Pines with seven points.
“Myles hurt us the first game,” Humes said. “Our goal was to try to make someone else beat us.
“This was huge for us. Our goal from the beginning of the year has been making the playoffs. This win really puts us in a situation where we control our own destiny.”
— Contact reporter Bartt Davis at email@example.com or 702-387-5230.