Friday, Feb. 4, 2011 | 2:06 a.m.
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer take a look around Las Vegas at the teams that are peaking at the right time. They also break down some of the week's most important contests.
Losing a top player to a season-ending injury would be enough to slow down most high school basketball teams.
But for the Bishop Gorman High girls, a knee injury suffered by senior post player Chelsie Pitt hasn’t stopped them from dominating the competition.
Playing in their most significant game since Pitt was hurt last month, the Gaels Thursday outscored visiting Sierra Vista by 21 points in the second half to turn a close game into a lopsided 65-40 victory.
Senior guard Amber Lane controlled the pace of the game most of the night in finishing with a team-high 16 points. Her consecutive 3-pointers in the third quarter helped Gorman extend a four-point halftime lead to double digits.
“They were shooting and driving on us and we weren’t playing that good of a defense,” Lane said of the Gaels’ slow start.
Sierra Vista, which entered trailing Gorman (19-4 overall, 14-0 Southwest) for first place in the league by one game, put up a valiant fight — especially early.
The Mountain Lions (18-6 overall, 12-2 Southwest) trailed by six points five minutes into the game before rallying to even the score at 22-all late in the second quarter.
Post player Melia Tadytin had eight first-half points, while point guard Jeanette Jackson had seven. Jackson had arguably the most impressive play of the night when she dribbled the ball the length of the court and scored a layup with two Gorman defenders attempting to make a block.
“They have a great squad,” Gorman coach Sheryl Krmpotich said. “They are athletic; they match-up well and they have shooters on the perimeter. (Jackson) is extremely quick. We knew we would have match-up problems at some point with her, because she is such a dynamic player.”
Diamond Major scored all 12 of her points in the second half as the Gaels flexed their muscles down the stretch. Even without Pitt — one of their team leaders who averages about 13 points per game — Gorman’s depth was too much for upset-minded Sierra Vista to handle.
It will take a team effort to duplicate Pitt’s production.
“We are always up for a challenge,” Krmpotich said. “Unfortunately, we lost Chelsie Pitt to an ACL, which hurts us in the post. But kids have to step up. If anyone wants to do the job, they will step up and do it.
“We had four in double figures tonight. That is hard to defend. You can defend one or two, but four is a hard dynamic.”
Gorman will take a break from local competition tomorrow when it plays Brea Olinda of California, which is ranked as the nation’s No. 1 team. Gorman, which has won four of the last five Nevada state titles, is up for the challenge.
“It is a good experience playing the No. 1 team in the nation,” Lane said. “It gives us the ability to get ready for state, and learning our disabilities and what we need to get ready for the future.”
“We have moments were we look amazing and moments where you want to pull your hair out,” Krmpotich said. “I think that is every coach. We are hoping to gel at the right time and that is (regionals) and state. This was good for us because we needed a closer game to gauge what we need to work on and where we are at.”