Manogue was a long-time small school power in the Silver State but it had not captured a state berth, in spite of building one of the better programs in northern Nevada, since moving to the large-school ranks, starting in the 2004-05 season.
That's no longer the case since Bishop Manogue earned its second-straight trip to the DI North title game.
"This was the big one since winning it gets us to state, but we want another shot at Reno," fourth-year Miners coach Craig Holt said. "We have more work to do. We'll try to give'em hell on Saturday, mix some things up and see what happens."
Manogue (20-4) and Reno will meet in the regional final Saturday at 4 p.m. at Spanish Springs. Manogue lost to Reno 47-26 earlier this month in the lone regular season meeting between the two schools.
Against Damonte Ranch Thursday, Manogue never trailed. Back-to-back Breezy Holt layups gave the private Catholic school an 11-2 edge with 1:46 left in the initial period. The Miners led 11-5 at the end of the first quarter.
Manogue extended its edge to 22-9 after Tawni Henderson buried a trey at the 2:30 mark of the second quarter. Still, Damonte continued to hang around, trailing 24-14 at the intermission.
"I don't think we played awesome, but they never came out of their zone, so we decided to kill some time, which was the best thing we could do," said Holt, alluding to his team's strategy of milking the clock. "
The gap was still 10, 29-19, after the Mustangs, the Sierra League's No. 3 seed, got a layup from Meagan Carlson with 6:36 to go in the third quarter.
That's when Manogue began to get some separation. The Miners scored seven straight points in less than a minute to kick start an 11-2 burst that bridged the third and fourth periods. The modest spurt ended when Katie Turner got a floater in the lane to fall a minute into the final quarter.
"When you look at it, 40-to-30 is a low-scoring game," Damonte Ranch coach Ed Shepard said. "Defensively, we did what we needed to do, which was not let them go out and score 60-plus points. But, we struggled offensively. They double teamed us a lot, especially in half-court sets. We could never get into an offensive flow with the pressure they put on us."
Manogue did not score in the final seven minutes of action Thursday, but its damage had been done. Additionally, the Miners were content to run large chunks of time off the clock by playing keep-away from the Mustangs.
"Manogue runs their stall very, very well," Shepard said. "Once they start it, you have to foul them or wait for them to turn the ball over or score. Until you can do that, you can't call timeout to set up a defense against it. They probably burned two or three minutes at a time. That's a long time."
"Late in the game we couldn't get the ball back ... Maybe that was a blessing disguise. Maybe they would've scored more, or maybe we could've gotten a couple 3-pointers. You never know, but I'm proud of our girls. We played them hard and didn't quit."
Holt threw in 15 points to lead all scorers while Hannah Santos added 13 to Manogue's winning cause.
Taylor Nuttall and Morgan Waller both finished with eight points for Damonte Ranch (14-11) but no Mustangs player hit for double digits in the scoring column.