The Dolores Lady Bears basketball team entered the Colorado 2A Region-3 tournament at Durango High School as the No. 1-seed.
But fourth-seeded Swink advanced to the regional championship with a 45-37 upset Friday evening in Durango.
Dolores (15-7) started fast, but a second-half adjustment on defense for Swink (13-10) took the Lady Bears out of their game and they never recovered.
This game got real physical, and either you respond or you dont, Dolores High School coach John McHenry said. It was a snowball effect. We just got rattled and never could quite catch it up.
Dolores leading 3-point shooter Kaitlyn McGee tickled the twine from downtown for the first points of the game to give the Lady Bears an early 3-0 lead. Dolores extended its opening run to seven straight behind two free throws from Cheyenne McCoy and Cortney Brunner.
Mariah Miner finally got Swink on the board with a free throw, but the Lady Lions trailed 7-1.
Madison Stewart and Kourtney Stroud made consecutive jump shots to make it a 7-5 game, but the Lady Bears answered with five straight points to seize a 12-5 lead.
Stroud kept the Lady Lions close with the teams first 3-pointer, and Alyssa Jaramillo sank a free throw to cut the Dolores lead to 12-9 at the end of the first quarter.
McCoy got underneath for the deuce off the assist from Keelin Nickerson, but Swink got buckets from Jaramillo and Kate Ramsey to pull it within one at 14-13.
The Lady Lions then applied some tough half court pressure that forced Dolores into careless turnovers, and Swink grabbed its first lead at 16-14 and never trailed again. McHenry had seen enough and called timeout at the 4:10 mark of the second.
Stewart added a free throw after the timeout to give the Lady Lions a three-point lead, and Stroud doubled that with her second 3-pointer. All of a sudden, it was the Lady Bears down 20-14.
Maddie Jacquart put in two at the charity stripe to up the Swink lead and run to 22-14 and 13-0. Thats where the score stood at halftime to the stunned Lady Bears faithful. Dolores was outscored 13-2 in the second quarter. Brunner had four fouls at the break.
We come out on fire and had two points that second quarter, McHenry said. They were making their shots, and we couldnt make ours. We had some gimmies underneath.
McCoy got Dolores within six, putting back a Jaycee Gallaher miss to open the third quarter. Cydney McHenry did the same and put back an offensive rebound, and it was 22-18. After each squad traded baskets, McCoy again got inside for the lay in and Dolores was only down 24-22.
Stewart responded with back-to-back buckets to put Swink up 28-22. Cydney McHenry then made 1 of 2 at the line to cut it to five.
Both teams stepped up their defense and would force turnovers on five straight offensive possessions. Brunner forced a foul, but only made 1 of 2 at the free-throw line to make it 28-24.
Both teams traded buckets, and John McHenry called timeout with 52 seconds in the third period.
Each team went scoreless in the last minute of the quarter, and the Lady Lions led 30-26 heading to fourth quarter.
To start the final stanza, each team matched each other point-for-point the first six minutes of the fourth, but Swink still had a four-point lead at 39-35. Although Dolores picked up its offense in the final minutes, it couldnt stop Swink when it needed. The end was officially near when Nickerson was called for a flagrant foul trying to stop a fast-break. John McHenry disagreed with the foul call and was whistled for two technical fouls arguing with the referee, and was ejected from the game with 53 seconds remaining.
Swink would seal the Lady Bears fate at the foul line.
McCoy paced Dolores in her final high school basketball game with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Cortney (Brunner) got four fouls by the second quarter and knowing one of our leaders is out of the game, is pretty tough. That really brought us down, McCoy said. The playoffs are really physical and its a game were not really used to in league play. Weve just got to prepare a little bit better in practice and push each other around a little bit more to get ready for that.
Brunner and Cydney McHenry each recorded seven and six points.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at email@example.com