PAHRUMP, Nev. — ‘Train above the strain’ can be difficult to accomplish with as deeply talented a team as this season’s varsity Lady ’Stangs but the girls found game in the Pahump Valley Lady Trojans when they traveled to that school on Dec. 20. Pahrump, a 3A NIAA high school with slightly more students than the entire Needles Unified School District, won the non-conference contest 51-33 over the NIAA 2A Lady ’Stangs.
Despite Pahrump’s size and home court advantage fans might have expected the scores to be closer after the Lady Trojans’ 34-23 win over Needles in the River Valley Shootout. Personnel differences tell the tale with Pahrump’s No. 2 Tayla W. and No. 3 Kalea W., two girls that did not appear in the Shootout game, scoring 11 and six respectively; and the absence of Jordyn Breaux from the Needles lineup, who scored six in the Shootout against the Lady Trojans.
Coach Adrian Chavez reported Breaux has been cleared to be back on the court next week for play at Laughlin on Jan. 6 then at home against Lake Mead on Jan. 7 and The Meadows on Jan. 10. She was injured in the girls’ only league game so far this season: a 45-37 win over Calvary Chapel in The Corral on Dec. 12.
The Lady ’Stangs started slowly after the long bus ride, allowing Pahrump to climb to a 20-3 lead in the first quarter. They put eight points on the board to the Lady Trojans’ 12 in the second, then added 10 in the third while holding Pahrump to seven.
Needles’ girls closed the gap to six in the third, Chavez reported, then ran out of steam against their much larger opponents though they still scored 12 in the final stanza.
“They’re very well-coached, a very complete team,” the coach said of the Lady Trojans. “They’re probably the best team we’ve played all year. I think their record was 13-1 and they’ve won multiple tournaments. I talked to their coach, who said they went to the state playoffs last year and lost by three to the eventual state champions. He returned all five starters.”
Fans who saw the two teams in the Shootout were instantly struck by the size difference. “Riley Breuax is our tallest girl,” Chavez said after the Pahrump trip. “They probably have three or four bigger than her.
“Not having Jordyn we had to put some players in different positions to make up for it,” the coach continued. “Clarisse Chavez played well at point guard. Riley Breaux did what Riley does. She was very aggressive and got lots of rebounds. Marie Mills did what Marie does: scores.”
Mills led the Lady ’Stangs with 10 and added three assists. Mia Andrews struck for eight, pulled down two rebounds and forced two turnovers. Clarisse Chavez scored seven and was responsible for one assist and one turnover. Te’ Limon came ready to rumble: grabbing four boards, forcing four turnovers and making an assist. Riley Beaux and Rylee Chavez were credited with four boards and one assist each. Juliana Ortiz grabbed three boards and forced a turnover.
“So I saw a lot of good things,” Coach Chavez continued. “Our passing was not very good. We’ve been practicing a lot of passing drills ever since. We have to eliminate decision making with passing.
“The main positive thing we got out of it was we got down 20 early and didn’t give up. We cut it to six and that showed a lot of heart.”
Looking at the league games coming up, the coach commented: “I know Laughlin has been down, The Meadows has been down but we have to prepare for them just like Lincoln (County) or Calvary (Chapel). Lake Mead may have made the playoffs last year. They’re not doing too bad. That one’s going to be exciting but it’s just one game at a time.
“Hopefully, by the end of the week, we’ll be 4-0 in league. That’s the goal.
“I thank Mr. (Needles High School Athletic Director Bill) Darrow for scheduling Pahrump. I like playing these tougher teams in non-conference games to get ready for conference,” Chavez concluded. “It was a good game. Even though it didn’t go the way we wanted we learned a lot from it.”