After losing five of its first seven games, the Dolores High School girls basketball team has begun the new year with three straight victories to improve its record to 5-5 overall.
The latest Lady Bears triumph came at home on Jan. 13 when junior Tatum Majors scored a career-high 33 points to help her team defeat Norwood, 62-35, in the first of what will be the first of two matchups between the teams this season.
According to Dolores athletic director Chris Trusler, Tatum Majors’ 33 points were just two shy of the school’s single game scoring record of 35 points, which was set by Brianna Schwartz in a game against Mancos in 2014.
Dolores’ victory over Norwood came one day after an impressive 34-12 home victory over Telluride that was keyed by stout defense and solid post play from Tatum Majors and junior Morgaine Milligin.
The Lady Bears’ win over Telluride began with an 11-2 run that culminated with sophomore McKenzie Howerton knocking down a three-pointer from the right corner midway through the second quarter.
Up 13-4 at halftime, the Lady Bears continued to look to Howerton throughout the third quarter as the sophomore drained a second three-pointer from the right corner to put her team ahead 16-4 and later drilled a third three-pointer from the left wing to put Dolores ahead 22-6.
Rather than talking about her hot shooting after the game however, Howerton spoke at length about the team’s pressure defense, which limited Telluride’s scoring chances and led to fast break opportunities for Dolores.
“We knew that we had to put the pressure on (Telluride) and we knew that if we did, they would start to lose control,” Howerton said. “Our main goal was to get as many steals as possible.”
In addition to Howerton’s outside shooting, rebounding by Morgan Milligin and scoring by Tatum Majors played a significant role in the contest as the Lady Bears consistently dominated Telluride in the paint.
The Lady Bears’ two junior post players combined for one of the game’s most impressive plays when Milligin caught the ball in the paint and spun towards the middle before firing a perfect bounce pass to Tatum Majors for an easy layup.
“Every day in practice, we try to work on (our post moves) and be the best that we can,” Milligin said. “If you’re not afraid of contact, you can score a lot of easy baskets.”
Tatum Majors led Dolores in scoring against Telluride with 15 points, and Howerton chipped in 11. Josie Majors scored five points for the Lady Bears, and Margaux Lovely paced Telluride with eight points.
Looking to remain undefeated in the New Year, Dolores will next travel to Ridgway on Jan. 20 before traveling to Ouray on Jan. 26.
“We talk about always improving and we’re always going to keep pushing ourselves,” Milligin said.
“(Our last three wins) have definitely boosted our confidence,” added Howerton. “We can’t be cocky, though. We just need to keep playing as hard as we can and everybody is doing a great job with that right now.”