Telluride's Kendal O'Callaghan (5) returns to an elated huddle during a timeout called by head coach Chris Murray, left, immediately after she drained her first-ever three-pointer during the Lady Miners' varsity game Tuesday at 3A Bayfield. Also pictured, from left, are THS' Emma Gallager, Fianna Ahern and Tjarn Lyons. (Photo by Joel Priest/Telluride Daily Planet)

Virtually assured of victory Tuesday evening, with no fewer than four of the opposing team’s top players absent, Bayfield Girls’ Basketball boss Lauren Moran still wanted to see her players push for perfection each play.

So when Telluride sophomore Tjarn Lyons managed to bring the ball into the frontcourt and then stand unguarded for nearly five seconds at the top of the three-point arc, she cut her squad no slack verbally, despite Lyons’ off-target try.

And that was actually the second such instance THS’ capable point guard nearly exploited.

So when Lyons again dribbled the ball into the offensive end during the fourth quarter, the 3A Lady Wolverines were prepared to defend … but left freshman Kendal O’Callaghan wide open on the right wing. Receiving Lyons’ pass, O’Callaghan didn’t hesitate in the slightest as she released the rock and swished home the 2A Lady Miners’ final points in a 55-10 loss.

“That was so cool,” said Lyons, whose first-quarter trey inside BHS Gymnasium initially got the guests on the scoreboard. “That was her first three and it was awesome to see her do that.”

Head coach Chris Murray almost immediately took a timeout, essentially a curtain call celebrating the achievement.

“I’ve (made) them in practice but never in a game,” said O’Callaghan. “So our team’s goal for that half was actually to get me an open three. We did not know I was going to make it! I’m so amazed. That was my first three, and it was on varsity!”

Having scored four points in the JV game, won 26-8 by BHS and played in six-minute (rather than the normal eight) quarters, O’Callaghan finished with three points, along with Lyons (who’d booked the junior varsity’s other four). Earning her first-ever varsity start, according to Murray, sophomore Fianna Ahern recorded a team-leading four points.

Junior guard Genesis Barrera racked up a game-high 18 points and senior forward/center Alaysia Kremer tallied 12 for Bayfield (4-12 overall, 0-8 3A/4A Intermountain), which led 22-3 after the first frame and later went into halftime up 38-5.

“We’ve definitely worked on teamwork; we’ve tried to make it more fun, so we trust each other more,” Lady Wolverine senior Abria Thayer (5 points) said, “and we’ve also worked a lot on defense — I think we held them pretty good in the first quarter.”

“We know we’re going to have a lot of tough games (still) this season, and it was really nice to come out with a win like this,” said sophomore Renae Foutz (7 points). “The energy was amazing; that’s what carried us through the whole game.”

Coming into the non-league contest having battled fellow 2A/1A San Juan Basin Leaguers Ridgway well in a 42-17 road loss on Feb. 2, followed by an unsurprising 67-16 setback at home on Saturday against SJBL force Mancos, the Lady Miners (0-15, 0-6 SJBL, 0-5 2A SJBL) left La Plata County positive about their performance.

“We’re all happy about it,” said Lyons, who totaled three assists. “I think we stayed in high spirits, which was good.”

“Tjarn has been great,” Murray had said previously. “We’d moved Tjarn to point guard a few games ago, and she’s just stepped into that position and helped the team in general. Everybody just … falls into their role, does it to the best of her ability.”

“Even though we didn’t win, I think the experience proved to be very helpful for the future,” said O’Callaghan, who collected an unofficial seven rebounds in place of board-crashers Emma Reggiannini, Pella Ward and Summer Armstrong.

Resuming league work, Telluride will next see action Thursday evening at Dolores, with the two-win Lady Bears five days removed from a tense 34-32 loss at RHS.

“We are probably missing a few of our regulars,” O’Callaghan said, “but hopefully we’ll have more of the freshmen with us. I think we might play very well.”

THS will then return to host 1A SJBLers Nucla Friday night.