Then, in the fourth quarter, with the game still somewhat in doubt, Thomas scored six of her 10 points in a four-minute span that essentially put away the game and the championship for Brawley.
"Palm Desert was pretty tough. The first time we played them we didn't beat them, so we wanted this one," said Thomas. "It's not that we wanted revenge, we just wanted to win it."
While the Wildcats finished with a nine-point victory, they did just about everything they could to let the Aztecs back in the game.
After a 14-0 run over a four-minute span between the first and second quarters — led by Reggie Horta, who finished with a game-high 18 points — it looked as if Brawley would nab an easy victory. But taking advantage of forced turnovers and six straight three-pointers, Palm Desert outscored Brawley 20-7 to tie the game at 29 going into the intermission.
That's as close as the Aztecs got as the Wildcats pulled everything together, holding Palm Desert to just three points in the third quarter and six in the fourth.
"Brawley played really well. I knew they had the talent to beat us and they did," said Aztec coach Jim Serven. "They were able to outrebound us and get second-shot opportunities and that's what killed us."
Leading Palm Desert was Kendra Lindblad with 15 points.
In other tournament action, Calexico downed Central Union High 45-35 to take third place. Central's Janiece Manuel led all scorers with 19 points. Calexico's Lizeth Lopez finished with 18.
In the fifth-place game, Southwest edged Yuma 48-47, led by Jessica Conway with 13 points. Erica Antunez scored 12 for the Eagles.
Cindy Lopez scored 12 points for Holtville as it beat Imperial 56-43 in the seventh-place game. Rhea Deal led Imperial with 10 points.
Brawley's Kaylin Rubin was named tournament MVP with teammate Brooke Pace making the all-tournament team.
Joining Pace on the all-tournament team were Lopez from Calexico, Manuel from Central, Denice Rios from Southwest, Lindblad from Palm Desert and Yuma's Jackie Robinson.