DHS girls go on high alert

Pressure puts Piedra Vista on heels early

When a false-alarm fire alarm went off with about a minute left in the Durango High School girls basketball game Saturday night, Piedra Vista already had been alarmed for 31 minutes.

Alarmed, that is, by a Demons’ press that caused 25 total turnovers, 17 of them in the first half, converted those into points and beat the Panthers 68-53 at Durango High School.

It wasn’t that close.

“We just picked up the intensity on it and got at their weaknesses,” said Molly Barnes, who scored a game-high tying 19 points for Durango.

“We just pushed it a lot in transition.”

For the first almost 16 minutes, nearly nothing went wrong for the Demons. Their full and half-court press chewed up Piedra Vista’s attempts to move the ball, resulting in steals, fumbles out of bounds and even a backcourt violation.

In transition, the Durango girls made long passes down the court, then found Demons down low with slick bounce passes.

“That’s something we work on like every day,” said Barnes, daughter of Joe Barnes and Carol Cunefare.

Emily McCue was the most frequent beneficiary of the DHS transition attack, scoring 13 first-half points before finishing with 19.

Katie Wiegert, who scored 13, had six assists, and Jessi Sigillito had five assists.

“We’ve been talking about courage this week, and our goal was to come out in the first 2 minutes and play aggressive,” Durango head coach Nancy Smith said.

Durango built a 40-17 halftime lead. Some foul trouble and a fall back into a non-pressure defense allowed the Panthers, led by Claudia Charles’ 14 points, to chip away at the lead, but it never was in much danger.

Durango (7-2) will open Southwestern League play at Grand Junction Central at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.