4th-quarter rally helps Warriors get past Durango
For the Central High School girls basketball team, it wasn’t as easy the second time around.
After defeating Durango by 35 points two weeks ago, the Warriors had a more difficult time Friday night, surviving four tough quarters to defeat the Demons 58-52 at home.
In the first game, Durango fell behind early and had just gotten senior point guard Katerina Garcia back from injury. This time, the Demons were playing with a healthier Garcia and stayed competitive with the Warriors.
Durango even surged ahead in the second quarter, taking a 30-18 lead with one minute left in the quarter. Central went on a 6-0 run to end the half, cutting the deficit to six at halftime.
“That run was huge because it gave us the opportunity to come into the locker room and say, ‘Relax,’ ” Central coach Todd Dixon said. “I think we had such an easy game down there and the fact we didn’t jump out early tonight made everyone panic.”
Although Garcia helped the Demons’ offense flow, she wasn’t a factor in the scoring column — finishing with seven points. A big reason for the low scoring total was the defensive efforts of Haleigh Higgins and Ashley Paul, who both harassed Garcia the entire game.
“Haleigh and Ashley were great,” Dixon said. “I told them to be nasty and I thought they did a great job of pressuring her into making decisions.”
Garcia still kept the Demons going, finishing with seven assists. The attention paid to Garcia allowed for a big night from Neely Surmeier, who finished with a game-high 22 points. Surmeier’s performance helped the Demons hold a 45-43 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Warriors seemed to rise to another level in the final quarter, beginning with Higgins who tied the game up in the first 20 seconds on an inside move. Higgins finished with 17 points.
“Haleigh probably had the best practice she has had all year (Thursday) and it carried over into the game,” Dixon said. “We were trying to get the ball to her tonight because she was getting around people so quickly.”
With around four minutes left, another inside basket by Higgins gave Central 50-48 lead.
Karen Hayter then put the game away with a 3-pointer, giving the Warriors a five-point edge, 53-48.
“I thought it was going to be short, but it felt good coming off my hand,” Hayter said. “I thought we played well as a team, especially on defense.”
Hayter added 13 points to go with Higgins’ 17. The two players’ big performance allowed leading scorer Amy Kame to focus more on other aspects of the game. Kame still had 17 points, but also had 12 rebounds and six blocks.
“We don’t need one person scoring 25 points,” Hayter said. “We need nights like tonight where everyone can do something.”
The Warriors look to make it three in a row when they host Montezuma-Cortez today at noon.