Canyon Springs’ girls haven’t had much practice protecting a lead.
A lack of success for much of the program’s history hasn’t allowed the Pioneers many leads to protect.
On Friday in Silverado’s Turkey Tournament, Canyon Springs might have experienced a before and after.
Twice early in the day the Pioneers saw leads slip away against Durango and Liberty.
But in bracket play Friday night, Canyon Springs finally put one away, holding off Northeast League rival Las Vegas High, 49-48.
“We’re where I hoped we would be,” second-year coach Analese Alvarez said. “Obviously, we’d rather win games, but we want to be competitive in every game.”
And that hasn’t been a regular occurrence for the Pioneers, who won just one game two years ago and finished 7-18 last season.
“We have a lot of returning players, which is something Canyon Springs hasn’t had very often,” Alvarez said. “We’re still young, still learning, but games like these absolutely help.”
Against the Wildcats, Canyon Springs saw a 36-25 lead cut to 36-33 midway through the second half.
The Pioneers fought through that, extending their lead to 48-40 on consecutive baskets by Diamond Broadus.
But panic set in during the final two minutes with the Pioneers committing four turnovers and allowing the Wildcats to get within 48-46.
A free throw by Faith Harper moved the lead back to three with less than a minute to play.
Las Vegas hit two free throws to close within one and had the ball with 11 seconds left, but the Pioneers used a defensive stand to preserve the win.
“The experience from last year and realizing we can beat these teams will help us,” Alvarez said. “We’re making the playoffs this year.”
Pearl Paulo led the Pioneers with 12 points.
Shomari Harris had 14 points and Shawntonia Luckie 13 for Las Vegas.
In pool play, Canyon Springs led Durango 35-21 before the Pioneers panicked on offense and the Trailblazers scored the final 15 points of the game for a 36-35 win.
Canyon Springs led Liberty 30-26 at the half before the Patriots rallied for a 55-51 victory.
In other bracket play games:
Desert Pines 74, Western 43 — LaBrea Walker’s second 30-point game of the day allowed the Jaguars to roll past Western.
TaQuiyyah Boyles added 24 points for Desert Pines, which will face Liberty in a main bracket quarterfinal Saturday.
Michelle Simon had 13 points and Daresheoun Lee netted 12 for Western.
Legacy 56, Shadow Ridge 21 — Shakita Cox led a balanced attack with 11 points as the Longhorns bolted to a 40-15 halftime lead and cruised past the Mustangs.
Legacy will meet Silverado in a main bracket quarterfinal Saturday.
Elisha Hensey led the Mustangs with 11 points.
Durango 50, Cimarron-Memorial 21 — Amanda Boucher scored 12 points, and Durango used a 21-3 run to start the game en route to the win.
The Trailblazers will face Green Valley in a main bracket quarterfinal Saturday.
Leilani Blanco had nine points for the Spartans.
In pool play:
Foothill 55, Cimarron-Memorial 22 — Cheryl Harless scored 11 of her game-high 17 points in the first half, helping the Falcons rout Cimarron.
Bri Higgins added 16 points for the Falcons, who led 28-10 at halftime.
Cassidy Howard led Cimarron with six points.
Foothill 38, Shadow Ridge 23 — Higgins led all scorers with 17 points as Foothill overcame a shaky first half to down the Mustangs.
The Falcons, who clinched first place in their pool and a first-round bye in bracket play, held a narrow 15-13 lead at the half.
Hensey scored 11 points for Shadow Ridge.
Shadow Ridge 43, Cimarron-Memorial 23 — Sabriya Brooks scored 12 points, and the Mustangs limited Cimarron to six points in the first half en route to the win.
Liberty 68, Durango 40 — Daynice Cochran poured in 19 points as the Patriots built a 38-22 halftime lead and cruised past the Trailblazers.
Amanda Delgado added 15 points and Phoebe Baker had 13 for Liberty.
Jasmine Suarez and Megan Tullis each scored 10 points for Durango.
Liberty 55, Canyon Springs 51 — Destiny Whitehead scored 19 points, and Liberty battled back from a 30-26 halftime deficit to nip the Pioneers.
Delgado added 16 points and Cochran had 10 for the Patriots, who won their pool and drew an opening-round bye in bracket play.
Kenosha Wright led Canyon Springs with 18 points. Shante Thomas added 13 points.
Durango 36, Canyon Springs 35 — Jasmine Thomas made 1-of-2 free throws with 18.4 seconds left as Durango scored the game’s final 15 points to rally past the Pioneers.
Boucher scored 10 consecutive points during the game-winning run and finished with 13 points to lead the Trailblazers. Cherelle Hicks added 10 points for Durango.
Bianca Johnson led Canyon Springs with nine points.
Green Valley 82, Desert Pines 36 — Sarah Pickus scored 25 points, including the first nine points of the game, as Green Valley bolted to a 41-7 lead and never looked back.
Jazmine Jarvis added 21 points, and Danielle Christenson and Angelica Mack each scored 12 for the Gators.
Walker led the Jaguars with 13 points, and Boyles scored 11.
Green Valley 90, Legacy 63 — Jarvis and Pickus combined for 46 points, and the Gators used a 25-5 first-half run to pull away from the Longhorns.
Jarvis led all scorers with 26 points. Pickus added 20, and Christenson and Shavon Stevens each scored 13 for Green Valley, which won its pool and drew a bye in the first round of bracket play.
Breanah Manley paced the Longhorns with 19 points. Latia Matthews added 12 points for Legacy.
Desert Pines 51, Legacy 44 — Walker pumped in 30 points as the Jaguars held off Legacy.
Boyles added 11 points for the Jaguars, who led 27-18 at the half.
Kayla Murray paced the Longhorns with 15 points.
Silverado 71, Las Vegas 42 — Alena Evans led four double-figure scorers with 21 points, and the host Skyhawks used an early transition game to pull away from the Wildcats.
Shea Collins added 20 points, Natalie Lainhart had 12 and Tailor Monroe chipped in 11 for Silverado.
Leoneisha Jackson had 12 points for Las Vegas. Brianna Melton added 10 points for the Wildcats.
Silverado 47, Western 28 — Silverado scored the game’s first 31 points en route to wrapping up first place in its pool and securing a first-round bye in bracket play.
Evans and Lainhart each scored 11 points for the Skyhawks.
Simon paced the Warriors with 13 points.
Las Vegas 39, Western 32 — Melton had 11 points as the Wildcats edged past Western in a game that was tied at 15-15 at the half.
Simon led the Warriors with 19 points.