When Alice Pitts looked at the Bonanza teammates who joined her on the floor for much of the second half Monday, one thought came to mind.
Step up and be a leader.
Surrounded by players whose varsity basketball experience could be measured in minutes, or at best quarters, Pitts did just that.
The senior guard scored 16 third-quarter points, finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds, as the visiting Bengals (2-1) won their Southwest League opener, 60-53 over Spring Valley.
“I like that my teammates know they can trust me and they’ll look for me,” Pitts said. “I take that leadership role seriously.”
Only three players with significant varsity playing time returned for Bonanza this season: Pitts, Daytril Beals and Alex Duncan.
"They’re my three main ones out there," said first-year coach Thomas Rainey.
With the latter two in foul trouble, Pitts took over the game and helped the Bengals turn a 27-22 halftime lead into a 47-32 margin after three quarters.
In the span of a little more than a minute, Pitts grabbed a rebound and went coast to coast for a layup, then sliced through two defenders to start a three-point play that gave Bonanza a 39-30 lead. She scored all but two points in a quarter-ending 8-0 run that gave Bonanza its 15-point lead.
"My teammates helped me to get open," Pitts said. "We ran our offense in the second half. We got good looks."
Spring Valley battled back, whittling the lead to 51-41 with 5 minutes, 32 seconds to play after consecutive transition baskets by Lauren Bugni, but could not complete the comeback.
Beals added 18 points and Duncan 11 for Bonanza, which had 39 turnovers.
Bugni led the Grizzlies (1-2, 0-1) with 13 points. Spring Valley had 37 turnovers.