Casa Grande High School's Lady Gauchos repeated as champions of their own Big House Invitational tournament, but the win was by a points decision.
Casa Grande, Windsor and Redwood took turns knocking each other off, all three finishing with 2-1 records in the four-team match-play tournament. Eureka lost all three of its games.
Casa Grande's 10-point margin of victory over Redwood (55-45) was just enough to give the Lady Gauchos the tournament title, with Redwood second and Windsor third.
The championship was the third in as many years of the tournament's existence for the Lady Gauchos.
It wasn't easily achieved.
After losing to Windsor, 34-30, the night before, Casa Grande had to withstand a strong fourth-quarter surge by the Lady Giants to not only win the game, but also take the tourney title.
The game turned on the shooting of Lexi Schloetter in the second quarter. After a slow-paced opening quarter, Redwood managed to slip in front, 11-10, early in the second period. But Schloetter canned a momentum-changing 3-pointer and Casa went on a seven-point run.
Suddenly it was an 18-11 game and the Lady Gauchos never again trailed.
Not that the rest of the way was easy.
Casa led at halftime, 26-15, and kept the advantage at around 10 points, until Redwood dropped three 3-pointers, two by Ariela Rosenthal, through the net to cut the Lady Gaucho lead to five with still a minute to play.
Desperate for possessions, the Lady Giants fouled, but made the mistake of sending Lyndsey Murnin to the line, something akin to giving Casa Grande free points. Murnin dropped in four straight shots from the line to clinch the game.
A 3-point hit by Lucia Mora just before the end seemed insignificant at the time, but, when everything was tallied, gave Casa Grande just enough of a point differential to win the tournament championship.
Murnin, chosen the tournament's Most Valuable Player, led Casa Grande with 14 points, with Schloetter adding 14. Nine Lady Gauchos contributed to the scoring. Ariela Rosenthal led Redwood with 14, hitting three 3-pointers in the Lady Redwoods' fourth-quarter comeback.
Casa Grande defensive specialist Dayna Dolcini was also chosen to the all-tournament team.
The win followed a disappointing loss the night before to Casa' Grande's North Bay League foe Windsor.
Casa Grande was freezing cold in the first half, scoring just seven points and trailing at halftime, 18-7.
The Lady Gauchos battled back in the second half, tying the game before falling back at the end.
Murnin counted for half the Lady Gaucho points with 15, while Brooke Santander scored seven. .
Casa Grande opened the tournament with a 51-37 win over Eureka.
Murnin scored 21 points for Casa with Kayla Ryan adding 14.
"We played hard all three games," said Casa Grande coach Dan Sack. "We just didn't play smart."