WINNEMUCCA – A surefire recipe for losing a basketball game would include equal parts turnovers, poor shooting and allowing offensive rebounds.
At various points on Tuesday, the Elko girls basketball team derailed itself with all three ingredients on the road at Lowry.
The Lady Buckaroos did not have their best game Tuesday, but their defense came up with double-digit takeaways in the first and fourth periods – pulling away late for a 50-45 victory in what was a very close contest.
Lowry built an 11-7 lead in the first period, paced in the early stages by two 3s and a deuce by senior Alyssa Kuskie.
Junior Alexis Elquist scored five points early for the Lady Indians with a couple 2s and a free throw after an And-1.
The Lady Bucks took a 13-7 lead after another Elko turnover – many coming from quick passes in the first period – Kuskie making a steal and looking ahead to senior Kepa Bengochea for a layup in transition.
Elko cut the deficit to four with a bucket by senior Lexi Baum, but Lowry closed the quarter with a runner by junior Sydney Connors from the right wing at the buzzer.
Entering the second period, the Lady Bucks led 15-9.
Connors began the second with a long two from the right wing, but Elquist notched four straight points for the Lady Indians – dropping a pair from the stripe and a short-corner jumper on an assist from senior Gabe Rowley.
The offenses struggled in the middle portion of the period, but Elquist pulled Elko to within one at the three-minute mark with a triple from the left wing on another pass by Rowley.
Kuskie scored Lowry’s first point in nearly five minutes with a free throw, and then she penetrated the Elko defense and dropped a runner across the lane – moving from left to right.
Elko once again sliced the lead to one with a three, senior Sariah Pulley dropping a distance shot from a crosscourt look from Elquist with 1:30 remaining in the half.
Every time the Lady Indians had a chance to take the lead, they either missed an open look at the rim or they turned the ball over – giving the ball away in the backcourt and also being called for a charge.
The game went to halftime with Lowry on the high side at 20-19.
Senior Shelby Garrison scored the first bucket of the third quarter on a feed from Kuskie, but Pulley answered on the other end for Elko.
Kuskie gave the Lady Bucks a four-point cushion with an And-1 when the Elk defense rotated late on a high ball screen – completing the three-point play from the line.
Elko tied the ballgame at 25-all with consecutive buckets by Elquist, banking home a runner across the lane and scoring from an offensive rebound with 5:15 remaining in the period – forcing a timeout.
Out of the reset, Lowry went up five.
Junior Julisa Garcia dribbled her way out of trouble in the right corner and reversed toward the middle for a floater, and the Elko defense cut underneath a screen at the top of the arc and Kuskie made them pay with a three.
Elquist made a pump fake and drove past the defense for a short pull-up, the Lady Indians cutting the deficit to one at 30-29 on a runner from the left side with an off-glass finish by Rowley with 2:30 remaining in the third.
Following a steal by Elquist, the Lady Indians passed out of a trap against Pulley – who kicked to a wide-open Rowley in the middle of the floor – buckets.
Rowley’s three gave Elko a 32-30 lead with 2:07 on the clock.
The advantage grew to 34-30 with a pair of free throws by junior Brenna Hendrix, but the Lady Buckaroos pulled to within one – closing the period with three straight points at the stripe by Connors.
Going into the fourth, Elko led 34-33.
Lowry took the lead on an easy finish by senior Kyllie Sappington, and Elko began its storm of turnovers in the backcourt – unable to deal with Lowry’s full-court pressure.
Garrison was strong with the basketball and scored on the right block in traffic.
One of the few times Elko crossed midcourt in the first 3:30 of the fourth quarter, the Lady Indians dribbled the ball of their foot and out of bounds – turnover No. 2 in the frame.
Turnover No. 3 came before missing a wide-open layup, and Elko started losing the battle on the glass – Garrison sinking two free throws.
The Lady Indians made their fourth giveaway but stole the ball back from Lowry, only to drive down the floor and dribble the ball out of bounds – turnover No. 5 in the fourth quarter.
Elquist scored Elko’s first points of the period at the 4:30 mark, making two free throws after grabbing consecutive rebounds and cutting the lead to three at 39-36.
After not getting into the bonus in the first half, Elko made its eighth foul with 4:04 remaining – junior Rebecca Kuskie making both attempts.
Elko followed with its sixth turnover of the period, the wheels starting to come off the wagon.
Pulley was fouled in transition and swished both shots at the line, but Connors made a timely drive after the Lady allowed two offensive rebounds.
Ball security was shaky for Elko throughout the game, but the Lady Indians came unglued late – turning the ball over four-consecutive trips.
Rebecca Kuskie scored after stealing a crosscourt pass, and Alyssa Kuskie grabbed her own rebound from the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw – Elko fouling out a player.
Alyssa Kuskie sank another freebie before Pulley knocked down a jumper from the wing for the Lady Indians, but time was not on Elko’s side – trailing 46-40 with 25 second remaining.
Rebecca Kuskie knocked down a pair from the stripe after another Elko player was sent to the bench with five fouls.
Elquist ripped a pull-up three and cut the lead to five, but Connors sank two freebies on the other end.
Hendrix got a friendly bounce at the buzzer, but Lowry overcame a slow start and earned a 50-45 victory.
Alyssa Kuskie led Lowry with 19 points, knocking down three 3s.
In defeat, Elquist splashed two triples for the Lady Indians and scored a game-high 23 points.
Connors scored nine points for the Lady Bucks, and Pulley put in nine for the Lady Indians.
Garrison scored seven points and Rebecca Kuskie put in six for Lowry.
Rowley finished with five points for Elko, Hendrix closing with four.
ELKO – 9 – 10 15 – 11 – 45 Total
LOWRY – 15 – 5 – 13 – 17 – 50 Total
The Lady Indians fell to 4-4 in league play of the Division 3A North, while Lowry improved to 5-2.
The Lady Buckaroos will face Spring Creek (5-2 in 3A North) at 6 p.m. Friday in Winnemucca.
Elko closed out the first half of its league season and will not be back in action until 6 p.m. on Jan. 19 against Fernley at Centennial Gymnasium.