WELLS — In a matchup of top teams in the Division 1A East girls basketball standings, No. 1 stayed the same after the game as it did when the ball was tipped.
The first points of the contest were put up by Owyhee junior Cameron Paradise on a pair of free throws, the Lady Braves grabbing a 4-0 lead on a bank shot by senior Jenna Sope.
After a slow start, Wells booked its first field goal with a strong drive by sophomore Haylee Sethman after outside shots were not falling.
Owyhee senior Alejandra Dick knocked down a long two-point jumper from the left side on an inbound pass, and she then jumped a passing lane from a screen and went the distance for a rank spin and scoop for an 8-2 lead.
The Lady Leopards were ice cold from the field and continued to settle for jump shots, but sophomore Jasmin Garcia broke the trend with a pump fake and strong take down the left baseline for a deuce on the block.
Wells stayed in the game with defensive pressure — using both active hands and feet — eventually finding some offensive success.
After several offensive rebounds, the senior Jackie Berumen hit a midrange jumper from a pass by Garcia — cutting the deficit to two.
Owyhee slowed down the stretch, missing shots and turning the ball over.
At the end of the first, the Lady Braves led 8-6.
Berumen gave Wells its first lead to open the second quarter, knocking down a three from the right corner on an assist from Sethman.
Following the make, both teams were sloppy with the basketball — trading giveaways — and failed to knock down shots.
The drought was broken with a jumper from the left wing by Sope, but the Lady Leopards regained the high side with a strong move toward the bucket by Garcia.
A free throw by Paradise knotted the score at 11-all with 2:30 remaining in the half.
With a 4-0 run, the Lady Braves snagged a 15-11 lead on consecutive scores — freshman Mattisen Jones finishing from an offensive rebound and Dick scoring on the break from a steal.
Berumen missed a three wide to the right, but the ball caught glass and dropped home.
Dick spun free for a textbook post finish on the right block.
Give and take, Wells closed the half with some momentum — doing a god job of defending passes to the post.
Sophomore Evelia Garcia grabbed an offensive board for a follow-up, and Berumen hit a pair of free throws for a one-point lead.
By the break, the Lady Leopards led 18-17.
Opening the third quarter, junior McKenli Myers put back a missed shot for Wells — Jasmin Garcia adding another follow-up bucket on the offensive glass.
Paradise hit a free throw for the Lady Braves and buried a deuce — cutting the margin to two at 22-20 — but Wells went up 26-20 on another aggressive drive for a bank by Jasmin Garcia and a jumper from the short corner by Myers.
Owyhee came to within four on an inbound pass to Dick for a solid finish on the right block, but Wells went up five with a 1-for-2 trip to the stripe by Berumen.
Wells’ cushion extended to seven with a pair of freebies by Myers — who received a great post-entry feed by Jasmin Garcia as Myers crossed the lane — Owyhee trimming its deficit to six with a free throw for Sope.
The Lady Leopards finished the third strong, Evelia Garcia yanking down a weak-side board and going up for a solid finish off the window.
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Entering the fourth, Wells led by eight with the score at 31-23.
Owyhee brought the score to 31-24 on a free throw by Sope, the Lady Braves pulling to within five on a pair from the line by Paradise.
Wells turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, but the Lady Leopards took it back as freshman Jillian Rodriguez stole the ball and went the length — scoring an And-1 plus sinking the free throw.
On the other end, junior Tia Woods put back an offensive board but Myers answered with a pair of free throws.
Up 36-28 with 5:13 on the clock, the Lady Leopards missed back-to-back bunnies and fouled in the backcourt — Owyhee bailing them out with a missed front end of a one-and-one.
With less than five minutes remaining, Wells seized control with a three from the right wing by Sethman for an 11-point lead.
The Lady Leopards pounced with 4:30 on the clock, Berumen not settling and recognizing a driving lane — going coast-to-coast for a layup.
With 3:17 remaining, Paradise hit a pair of free throws for Owyhee and made the score 41-30.
Wells committed the cardinal sin on defense when playing with a large lead and lost a shooter, Paradise smoking a three from the left wing.
However, Berumen was fouled and nailed a pair of clutch free throws to go up 10.
Paradise continued to pack the Lady Braves, splitting two defenders and finding a friendly roll.
Sethman buried two freebies, but the Lady Leopards did not pick up Paradise and she splashed her second three of the frame.
At the line, Sethman went 1-of-2 — Myers then making a perfect trip to the stripe.
Berumen nailed two more free throws and opened a 12-point lead, but Paradise flipped up a circus shot with her left hand and got a nice bounce.
Dick pulled Owyhee to within seven on a three from the left wing, but Myers added a free throw for Wells.
The Lady Leopards did not stop ball, and Paradise cut the margin to five with her third three of the quarter.
However, the Lady Braves were unable to force the turnover they needed to hang around for a comeback.
The Lady Leopards ran out the clock and remained unbeaten in league play with a 51-46 victory.
In defeat, Paradise scored a game-high 23 points — dropping 17 and three 3s in the fourth — joined in double digits by 13 points from Dick.
Berumen paced Wells with 17 points — sinking two 3s — followed by 11 points from Myers, who booked all her points in the second half.
Sethman and Jasmin Garcia each gave the Lady Leopards eight points, the offense rounded out by four points from Evelia Garcia and an old-fashioned three by Rodriguez.
Owyhee’s scoring was capped by six points from Sope, two by Woods and a deuce from Jones.
OWYHEE — 8 — 10 — 5 — 23 — 46 Total
WELLS — 6 — 11 — 14 — 20 — 51 Total
The Lady Leopards (13-3 overall, 5-0 in league) will play on the road at 2 p.m. Saturday, in Carlin.
The Lady Braves (11-6 overall, 2-2 in league) will also be away for their next contest, tipping off at 2:30 p.m. MST on Saturday, in Jackpot.