Needles’ girls basketball team didn’t merely improve on its showing at last year’s Vegas Invitational.
The Mustangs also made history along the way.
Needles built a 14-point lead in the second half and held on for a 67-57 win over Bonanza in Wednesday’s title game of the Vegas Invitational at Mountain View.
The Mustangs (10-0) averaged 69.5 points in the four games of the tournament, a record in the six years of the event. The old mark had been held by Eldorado, which averaged 67.6 points in five games in 2006.
“Offensively, we were outstanding for most of the tournament,” Needles coach Manuel Calderon said. “It makes a coach’s job much easier when you have this kind of talent.”
Defending Class 2A state champion Needles, which fell 39-38 to Moapa Valley in the semifinals of last year’s tourney, defeated defending 1A champ Pahranagat Valley and 4A Bonanza on the way to the title.
Bonanza (6-2) jumped to a 15-9 lead, but Needles closed the first quarter on a 5-0 run and eventually led at halftime, 29-27.
The Mustangs then opened the third quarter on a 19-7 run to take a 48-34 lead.
“We went and had a really strong talk at halftime,” Calderon said. “They came out in the second half and proved the capability they had.”
Needles’ Gena Chavira had 18 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks, while Miranda Brackett supplied 17 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
“We all got together and said we needed to play how we play,” said Brackett, who was named tournament MVP. “We showed what our team’s really about.”
Kristin Arthur (12 points), Alex Chandler (10) and Chrystian Dick (10) also scored in double figures for Needles.
Alice Pitts led Bonanza with 23 points, nine rebounds and nine steals. Daytril Beals added 15 points, and Alex Duncan had nine points and 10 rebounds.
“My girls started getting a little bit tired, and (Needles) capitalized on our mistakes,” Bonanza coach Thomas Rainey said of the third quarter. “We would steal the ball, come down and we wouldn’t capitalize.
“The third quarter really did hurt us, but we came back in the fourth and fought hard.”
The all-tournament team was also comprised of Pitts, Western’s Michelle Simon, River Valley’s Katie Simpson, Orestimba’s Sarah Spaulding and Pahranagat Valley’s Dakota Day.
Western 41, River Valley (Ariz.) 27 — Louella Johnson scored 17 points to lead the Warriors past the Dust Devils in the third-place game.
Simon pulled down 13 rebounds for Western, which led 10-3 after the first quarter.
Pahranagat Valley 41, Orestimba (Calif.) 36 (OT) — The Panthers scored all five points in overtime to win the fifth-place game.
Halie Lewis shot 3-for-4 from the free-throw line in overtime for Pahranagat Valley.
Day scored 11 points and Addie Canning added 10 for the Panthers.
Moapa Valley 38, Mountain View 20 — The Pirates scored the first 10 points and cruised past the Saints in the seventh-place game.
Shilo Parashonts scored 12 points for Moapa Valley, which held Mountain View to single-digit scoring in three quarters. Caley Dunlap had nine points, seven rebounds and four steals for the Pirates.
Zari Riley led Mountain View with seven points and 16 rebounds.
Agassi Prep 47, Fairmont Prep (Calif.) 33 — Kayla Johnson scored 11 points to lead the Stars to the win.
Alannah Conway added 10 points for Agassi Prep.
Mountain View 46, Sunrise Mountain 28 — Patrice Marshall scored 17 points to lead the Saints by the Miners.
Briana Marruffo added 12 points and A’Riane Holliday had 11 for Mountain View.
Da’Nisha Wedlow led Sunrise Mountain with 11 points.