After losing by 36 points in the opening round of the Tarkanian Classic, it would have been easy for the South High School girls basketball team to pack in the rest of the tournament.

Instead, the Colts adjusted and won their final three games to leave Las Vegas with a 3-1 record and a 10-1 overall mark heading into winter break.

“They’re a very good team and we were hanging around by 12 or 14 points and then it kind of got away from us,” Lane said. “There’s been some things we had to adjust to.”

Century (ID) was the team that did the initial damage to South as they went on to win the Ruby Division of the tournament hosted by Bishop Gorman High School.

Lane said before heading to Las Vegas that the tournament would teach her and the players to think and play on the fly. That turned out to be true right away as even the format of the games was unfamiliar.

Instead of eight-minute quarters and the regular amount of full/30-second timeouts, games were played with two 16-minute halves and only four 30-second timeouts were given. Halftimes were only seven minutes long as well.

“We got a little exhausted considering where we were,” Lane said. “I think we figured it out the next couple of days so that was good.”

After taking the first punch, South dealt their own hook by downing Green Valley (NV) 55-38 in the first round of the consolation bracket. Seniors Gabi Lucero and Drea Nelson led the way with 32 points for Lucero and 25 for Nelson.

California was next on the hit list with South taking down both Arroyo Valley and Birmingham in the next two rounds. Arroyo Valley came into the tournament with a 10-1 record while Birmingham was 9-4.

In the final game against Birmingham, senior Drea Nelson left late in the first half due to an injury. For a team who only plays about six girls, a loss of one of its senior leaders seems like it would devastating.

Instead, Paloma and Jaylee, along with senior Lucero, stepped up and fought for a 44-42 victory.

“(Lucero) really stepped up her game there and played through foul trouble,” Lane said. “How we pulled out that game I have no clue, but we’ll take it.”

Most importantly, the trip was about bonding as a team and Lane believes the girls were able to do exactly that, even with a deflated basketball at the house they were staying in.

“We were in a house and it had a little basketball hoop outside and we were able to run through stuff before heading to the gym and it was kind of fun even with a flat basketball,” Lane said. “It was better than a hotel…They enjoyed it a lot, but I know they’re excited to get back home too.”

awhite@chieftain.com