RENO – After a stellar, underdog run to a regional championship the Wells girls basketball team will dance its ways to a battle for a state title.
The North No. 1 Lady Leopards rolled over South No. 2 Round Mountain on Friday during the 1A semifinal round at Lawlor Events Center by a final score of 47-26.
Wells opened the scoring with a coast-to-coast take by senior Keegan Laughlin, followed by a free throw by senior Amanda Murphy after a steal.
Round Mountain’s first point came on a 1-for-2 trip to the stripe by senior Alyssa Hanks, but Murphy netted a runner along the left baseline for the Lady Leopards.
The Lady Leopards grabbed an 8-1 lead on a three from the left wing by freshman Cameron Powers, who then forced a turnover with a steal.
The takeaway turned into a run-out for Laughlin on an assist from senior Samantha Stumpf.
Defensive pressure by the Lady Leopards – especially Murphy – forced Round Mountain into several turnovers and was never able to get settled in half-court sets and feed Hanks in the post.
No. 35 grabbed an offensive rebound on the weak side and scored the Lady Knights’ first field goal with less than three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
A runner by Powers pushed the advantage to nine at 12-3, Murphy sinking two freebies after grabbing an offensive board.
Round Mountain booked the final deuce of the period, Hanks driving the right side of the lane.
Wells’ defense dominated the first half of the second period, not allowing a point for nearly five minutes.
Shamblin took a takeaway the distance for a layup, and Laughlin added a free throw.
Stumpf buried a midrange jumper from the right elbow, followed by a theft and bunny from sophomore Jackie Berumen for a 21-5 Wells lead.
Round Mountain finally found the board near the three-minute mark on a free throw by Hanks.
Berumen made another drive after a Round Mountain turnover for a 23-6 lead, followed by a deuce by sophomore McKayla Brown for the Lady Knights.
At the break, the Lady Leopards were 16 minutes away from booking a trip to the state final – leading Round Mountain by 15 at 23-8.
Senior Brianne Davis opened the third quarter with a deuce for Round Mountain, but Stumpf nailed a three from the left wing for the Lady Leopards.
Hanks made a free throw, but Powers made a clean trip to line for Wells and a 28-11 lead.
The deficit was cut back down to 15 on a left-block finish by Hanks, but Murphy scored three in a row for the Lady Leopards – making a free throw after an offensive rebound and racing ahead of the pack for a layup and a 31-13 advantage with four minutes remaining.
Murphy’s personal streak hit five after a steal and look-ahead from Berumen, placing her in double digits.
Berumen grabbed a loose ball on the right block and pushed the Lady Leopards to a 22-point lead with two minutes remaining in the third.
Powers lined up a triple from a pass by Shamblin and drained a free throw for a 39-13 advantage.
The Lady Leopards continued to force turnovers, making on-ball steals, off-ball thefts and creating unforced errors.
After three quarters, Wells led by 26.
Shamblin scored on a breakaway to open the fourth, but Hanks dropped a high-arching swish for an And-1 and buried the free throw – scoring the next two points from the line for her 10th and 11th points of the game.
Junior Berenice Aboite finally found the scoreboard after making several hustle plays, taking a steal to the rim for a left-handed finish.
Davis made two free throws for Round Mountain, followed by a bucket from junior Ginger Cecchini on a wrap-around dime from Hanks.
Hanks sank two free throws on two occasions and one on another trip, but Berumen reached double digits after a floater in the middle and a runner from the left elbow.
Wells cruised to a 47-26 victory and a berth in the state championship.
Powers led the Lady Leopards with 11 points – splashing two threes – joined in double figures by 10 points each from Murphy and Berumen.
Stumpf and Laughlin each finished with five points, Shamblin adding four and Aboite closing with two.
Hanks scored a game-high 16 points in defeat for the Lady Knights, and Davis added four points.
ROUND MOUNTAIN – 5 – 3 – 5 – 13 – 26 Total
WELLS – 14 – 9 – 16 – 8 – 47 Total
“We played pretty well in the first half, but we need to knock down more shots,” said Wells coach Enoch Dahl. “It was pretty hard to keep up the intensity with a big lead in the second half, but we have another one to win. We came here to win two games.”
The Lady Leopards will play for all the marbles against South No. 1 Pahranagat Valley, tipping off at 11 a.m. Saturday at Lawlor Events Center.