When Marana’s Mally McGarity missed her first 14 shots, it didn’t look like she’d turn into the shooting star of the second half.
McGarity scored all 15 of her points in the second half, as the Tigers’ (10-16, 3-7 in league) offense came to life in a surprising win at playoff-bound Canyon del Oro, 39-36.
In the first half, McGarity took most of her shots from the perameter, and just inside it. But she changed her approach after halftime.
“I was trying to drive,” McGarity said. “I tried to get closer.”
The senior made four of her last five shots, and was 6-7 at the free-throw line.
The surprise was that the Dorados (18-9, 8-3) were beaten by a team that they had beaten convincingly earlier in the year at Marana, 54-40.
“We beat them by about 20 in their place,” said CDO’s point guard, Brittany West. “We came out flat. We can’t underestimate anybody.”
That’s an understatement considering that after one period, the Tigers led the Dorados, 3-1. The only field goal was made by the Tigers’ Kortnee Day.
Day made 6-12 shots from the floor, and also scored 15 on the final day of the regular season.
For the Dorados, their year continued with sectional action on Tuesday, Feb. 5th, against Pusch Ridge. Results of the contest were not available at press time.
The Dorados are seeded fourth, while the Lions are the fifth seed in the Division II/Section I sectionals. One win will allow a team to advance into the state playoffs.
“Better to lose now than in sectionals,” West said. “That (first quarter) was a bad quarter.”
Defense was more prevalent than offense on a night when CDO missed their first 11 shots, and Marana was just 1-18 from the floor in the first period.
“I knew we had to stop West,” Day said.
The Dorados leading scorer this season, West, averaged 16 points a game and shot 80 percent from the free-throw line. But on Friday night, the Tigers held her to 11 points on 4-17 shooting from the floor. West was held to only one point in the first half.
“Everybody was helping on defense,” McGarity added. “We tried to shut down #11 (West) McGarity said.
“We tried to help on screens.”
In a close game in the fourth, Day stepped up and buried a trey to break a tie and give Marana a 36-33 lead. Then, with 1:35 remaining, the Dorados inbounded, but McGarity made a steal and scored to make it 38-33 with 1:11 left.
CDO’s Sammy Nettling went strong to the basket, got a bucket and foul, and converted the free throw to cut it to 38-36. Nettling finished with nine points.
Marana’s Courtney Hade was fouled and made 1-2 free throws for the final three-point margin.
Marana led 13-11 at halftime, but the offenses improved in the second half.
West scored five quick points for an 18-17 lead for CDO. The teams battled back and forth, as the quarter ended with a 3-pointer by Marana’s Hade.Then, West nailed a 3-pointer of her own while falling down to give the home team a 25-24 lead after three.
The Tigers shot 9-19 from the floor in the second half, almost 50 percent, and committed only 10 turnovers in the game.
For McGarity, it was the final high school game for the senior, but she made an impact as did the other Tigers, as they ended the season by winning three of their last four games. McGarity thought the team did well in their first season without star Jamee Swan, who graduated and went to Colorado State.
“I got to work with Mally,” Day said. “She’s my motivator. We were told to come out strong.”
Day wasn’t worried about CDO runs that tied the game or gave them temporary leads.