Dora junior Jennifer Bolin looks to pass as Farwell sophomore Dellani Jones tries to get a hand on the ball during the second half of their game Friday in Farwell. (Freedom Newspapers: Eric Kluth)
By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers
FARWELL — In a physical game with neither team having much depth, outside shooting gave the Farwell Lady Blue a big lift Friday night against Dora.
Sophomore guard Dellani Jones kept Farwell close with three first-half 3-pointers, and fellow sophomore Salida Edwards helped the Lady Blue take control by scoring nine of her season-high 22 points in the final 2:04 of the half in a 66-46 victory.
Dora (3-5) led for most of the first two stanzas before the 5-foot-3 Edwards took over, hitting four free throws, a 3-pointer and another basket to turn a 21-17 deficit into a 27-22 halftime lead.
“We were slow the first quarter, but after that we played well,” Farwell girls coach Doug Boyd said. “When we hit those outside shots, it opened the middle up and I knew we could score inside if we made the right passes.”
The Lady Coyotes tied the game 31-31 early in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by senior Jena Bilberry, who finished with a career-best 20 points. Then, with Farwell leading 35-33, Edwards hit her second 3-pointer of the night to spark an 11-0 run that carried into the final period.
“She played well,” Boyd said of Edwards. “She’s capable of that. She plays a lot bigger than she is.”
Edwards said the Lady Blue (7-9) just needed to get themselves under control.
“I think we just started to slow down a little bit and started making better passes,” she said. “It was one of our better games — maybe not our best, but it was pretty good.”
Senior post Danielle Cargile came on with 12 of her 15 points in the second half, while Jones finished with 11.
Three of Farwell’s eight players fouled out while two others, including Edwards, finished with four.
Bilberry was the only double-figure scorer for Dora, which dressed just seven players.
“We played well for a half, but we don’t have the conditioning to finish the game out,” Lady Coyotes coach Myra Skinner said. “The second half we just got tired, and that affects your defense, your cuts, your passes. …
“This has been finals week for us, and we haven’t been in the gym quite as much as usual.”
Farwell went 21-of-30 from the free throw line, including 12-of-14 in the fourth quarter, while Dora was 14-of-31. The teams combined for 50 fouls.
“It was a good way to (head into) the break,” Boyd said. “It was a confidence-builder, and that’s what we’re lacking right now.”
Steers 65, Coyotes 49
FARWELL — Dora’s boys recovered from Farwell’s first haymaker, but not the second.
Down 11-0 in the first three minutes, the Coyotes battled back to within a point in the third quarter before the Steers ran off a 20-1 blitz that cemented a 65-49 victory on Friday night.
Senior guard Tate Nichols scored a season-best 27 points for Farwell (10-4).
The Steers’ fullcourt pressure helped turn the game back in their favor, with seniors Rowdy Mitchell and Robbie Tabb converting layups off backcourt turnovers in a span of 10 seconds late in the third quarter for a seven-point lead.
“I think that’s what set them back, and it snowballed from there,” Nichols said. “We let them back in the game in the second quarter; they broke our press a couple of times. But I think it got to them when we made our run.”
Coyotes coach Ty Thatcher said his team is trying to learn the intricacies of a matchup zone defense, and had problems at times.
“We didn’t make the quick adjustments we needed to,” he said. “Early in the game we seemed to be confused of our responsibilities, and we gave them some easy baskets.
“But I was proud that we came back and made it a game.”
The Steers put together an 18-for-22 showing from the free throw line, including 8-of-8 by Nichols and 5-of-6 by Mitchell, who finished with 11 points. Dora went just 4-of-6.
“That’s probably the best we’ve shot free throws all year,” first-year Farwell coach Clint Conkin said.
Dora (4-7) missed a number of relatively easy scoring chances in the third quarter when the game was still in the balance, and it turned out to be costly when the Steers got rolling again.
“It wasn’t anything we did on defense — they just missed them,” Conkin said. “Dora stepped up and played pretty well after the first half of the first quarter. They handled our press and started getting layups off it.”
Junior J.R. Gonzales led the Coyotes with 12 points, while junior Tyler Wilhoit added 11, but Dora couldn’t overcome 33 turnovers, including 11 in the first quarter.
“We missed six or eight little point-blankers throughout the game that would’ve made a difference,” Thatcher said. “The free throws they made and the layups we missed were the difference.”
Nichols said the Steers didn’t have their best game, either.
“We didn’t play very well tonight,” he said. “We looked sluggish out there. I guess the holidays are coming and we’re looking forward to the break.”