Coronado claws back against Lewis-Palmer behind Marisol Estrada's second-half surge

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Eventually, she figured, her shots would fall.

Fortunately for Coronado junior guard Marisol Estrada, there was just enough time to make big contributions to a Cougars home-court victory over Lewis-Palmer on Tuesday.

Estrada scored all 12 of her points in the second half, her last basket coming on a 3-pointer from the left wing with 24.2 seconds left in regulation, as Coronado rallied from an eight-point deficit in the second half in a 51-49 win over the Rangers.

“My coach just tells me to pull the trigger,” Estrada said. I just put enough shots up and had the confidence to keep shooting. We kept pushing through, and our team doesn’t get down on each other. That keeps us going.”

Coronado (4-4) senior Amber Manners came up with a steal and dropped in a layup with 49 seconds left to tie the game at 47, but Lewis-Palmer (4-2) countered with an Ellie Crisler layup 20 seconds later, setting the stage for Estrada’s dramatics.

“Marisol is our big shooter, and we have to have her score,” Cougars first-year coach Bryan Earls said. “Good shooters believe they’re going to make shots. We talk all the time about if you don’t make the first one, you have to believe the next one is going in.”

Cougars freshman Fatinah Muhammad led all scorers with 17 points. Madison Eurich, who hit consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to give Coronado its first lead since just before halftime, chipped in with 10 points.

Lewis-Palmer, playing without senior starters Arianna Blowe, Preslee Enget and Sami Tucker, all of whom missed the game due to unspecified reasons – first-year Rangers coach Kristy Youngpeter declined to comment on their absence – got a 12-point, 13-rebound effort from Kaity Hovasse before the senior fouled out with 24.6 seconds left in the third quarter.

And with a short bench, Youngpeter saw a young team rally behind junior Bridget Cassidy, who scored 12 of her game-high 14 points in the second half but couldn’t get her potential game-tying shot to fall on the Rangers’ last possession.

“I learned the heart this team has,” Youngpeter said, “The fight they have and the belief they have in themselves was built up tonight, and they can take that into the next games. They played with their entire hearts, and a coach can’t ask for anything more.”

Coronado dominated early, going on an 11-0 run in the first quarter en route to a 16-4 lead through the game’s first eight minutes. But in the second quarter, Lewis-Palmer switched to a zone defense and allowed only two points while using a 16-0 run to take a 20-18 lead into halftime.

The Rangers maintained a lead through the third quarter, holding a 36-30 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.