The Lady Panthers looked good at home for two quarters against rival Durango on Tuesday night.
There's just one problem.
High school girls basketball is four quarters.
Montezuma-Cortez High School led the rival Demons 11-8 after the first eight minutes. But offensive stagnancy in the second and third quarters doomed the Lady Panthers at Ron Wright Memorial Gym. The Demons built a 21-point second half lead and in the end, M-CHS lost by 20, 59-39.
"We have such beautiful, shining moments where the girls just look so good. And then, we turn it over," Montezuma-Cortez coach Justine Bayles said. "It's so hard to keep them from reverting back to those bad habits that we have tried to really reinforce and try to break. There's just those moments where we get back into bad habits."
The Lady Panthers (1-15, 1-7 4A Southwestern League) got behind 8-3 in the early going. But senior captain Miranda Elliott steered her team in the right direction with four free throws. Nicole Demby added one at the charity stripe in between Elliott's free pitches and the game was tied at 8.
Naomi Pinnecoose banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give M-CHS an 11-8 lead after the first frame.
The Lady Panthers built their biggest lead at 14-10 early in the second quarter when Elliott converted an old fashioned three-point play.
Durango (11-6, 4-4 SWL) started a decisive run fueled by Emily McCue and Augusta Brockus to reclaim the lead. The Demons ended the first half on a 15-1 scoring spree and led 25-15 at the break.
McCue continued to have her way inside, as Durango took control in the third quarter. The Demons would build a 45-24 lead going into the fourth quarter.
M-CHS got its offense back on track in the final eight minutes. But that wasn't nearly enough time for the Lady Panthers to mount any sort of a comeback.
"It's our turnovers that really got us. We needed to just slow it (the tempo) down," said Elliott, who plans to play college softball at Garden City (Kan.) Community College. "We were getting frustrated and started trying to really get the points. We didn't slow it down."
Elliott paced M-CHS with a game high 23 points.
"We need to work more on our passes," she said. "That's one of the biggest things we need to do."
McCue led Durango with 16 points, while Brockus chipped in 13.
The Lady Panthers finish the regular season Friday and Saturday against Grand Junction and Montrose at 6 p.m. and noon.