Durango girls beat Kirtland twice

McCue’s late free throws clinch win over Broncos

Shanelle Bogus and the Durango Demons struggled to break Kirtland Central’s aggressive press Tuesday night. They waited until the final seven seconds to take a lead, when Emily McCue hit two free throws to propel the Demons to a 37-34 win and a 6-2 record. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

Shanelle Bogus and the Durango Demons struggled to break Kirtland Central’s aggressive press Tuesday night. They waited until the final seven seconds to take a lead, when Emily McCue hit two free throws to propel the Demons to a 37-34 win and a 6-2 record.

Emily McCue scored every one of the Durango High School girls basketball team’s first-quarter points Tuesday night.

On a single free throw.

So, there was something lyrical about the Demons’ forward finding herself at the line, trailing by 1 point with seven seconds remaining in the game.

No problem. She swished both. Then, she swished two more.

“Whoo. Oh man,” McCue said, still heavy-breathed with adrenaline.

“It was crazy.”

The Durango Demons scored more points in the first 4 minutes of the second half than they did in the entirety of the first half, and McCue scored a game-high 18 points and pulled down nine rebounds to help Durango beat Kirtland Central (N.M.) 37-34.

“We finished,” DHS head coach Nancy Smith said. “I’m so proud I could cry.

“We have an entire team that can contribute, that comes out and works hard.”

Molly Barnes scored six poins for the Demons, as did Katie Wiegert.

But nobody knew the importance of good teammates better than McCue on Wednesday. She wouldn’t have found the line without lots of help from the team.

The Demons trailed the Broncos until McCue’s go-ahead free throws in the final seconds. Dominique Ward pulled Durango within their final point with about a minute to play on a layup off of her own steal, leaving DHS in need of another possession.

Jessi Sigillito got it with 40 seconds to go and drove to the basket with a nifty move that took her around the defender, giving the Demons the lead they needed.

Until they heard the travel-call whistle.

“It was weird,” Sigillito said.

“It was like you just won, and then had it taken away from you.”

On the next play, she did it again, chasing down a contested inbound pass and forcing a turnover out of bounds.

Sigillito took one more shot, too, and missed, but McCue was fouled on the putback attempt to set up the comeback finish.

“It was like we won twice,” Smith said.

But both “wins” took a while. The Demons scored just one point in the first quarter, going on to trail 13-7 at the half after struggling to break Kirtland’s aggressive full-court press. Durango had 13 turnovers in the first quarter.

“They press really well,” Smith said of the Broncos. “They have a tradition of being a strong pressing team.”

But during the break, the Demons solved their problems.

“We definitely came out stronger in the second half ... got the nerves out and put it together,” said McCue, the daughter of Frank and Julie.

The Demons improve to 6-2, surpassing last year’s win total, before heading into Southwestern League play against Piedra Vista on Saturday at Durango High School.

“We were just so exciting to have a winning record going into league,” Sigillito said.

“That’s the best thing. We’re shocking people.”

jsojourner@durangoherald.com

Emily McCue of the Demons pulled down a rebound against Kirtland Central on Tuesday. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

Emily McCue of the Demons pulled down a rebound against Kirtland Central on Tuesday.

Durango High School senior Dominique Ward slashed to the basket for the Demons. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

Durango High School senior Dominique Ward slashed to the basket for the Demons.