If first impressions are everything, the Durango High School girls basketball team put future opponents on notice with a resounding victory Thursday.
The Demons rolled to a 53-33 victory over Harrison in their opening game at the Lady Hornet Holiday Tournament in Pueblo.
“It was fantastic,” said DHS head coach Nancy Smith, unable to contain the giddiness in her voice.
The key for Durango (1-0) was defense. The Demons forced a bevy of turnovers and were able to get out in transition and put the Panthers from Colorado Springs on their heels rather quickly.
“As often as we could, we pushed the ball up the floor,” said Smith, in her first full year as head coach after taking over on an interim basis midway through last season. “The girls did a great job reading who was open and finding the open man, and they had great defensive pressure.”
Molly Barnes led DHS with 13 points, while Dominique Ward chipped in 10. Katie Wiegert scored nine, while Emily McCue added eight of her own in a well-rounded offensive effort.
“(Barnes) stepped out and hit two 3-pointers fairly quickly, and that started us off really well,” Smith said.
But, again, Smith’s focus turned to her defense, which, like that of Durango’s male counterparts, likely will jump-start the rest of their game on a nightly basis.
“What happened was our defensive pressure was so strong, we really got them rattled,” she said. “They ended up getting a technical foul called on them in the second half because they got frustrated.”