A year ago, the Kingman High girls basketball team was staring down at a 3-13 record heading into the second half of the season.
This year, the story is the opposite. KHS sits at 9-3 after a 47-41 win over Flagstaff Coconino on Dec. 21. The Lady Bulldogs will go into the New Year with high hopes of securing a playoff spot in the Division I tournament.
"Where we are at this year compared to last year, it's leaps and bounds," said KHS coach Danny Gonzalez. "Are we done? No. The girls are very confident and they are not satisfied. Whatever happens, we need to continue to work hard."
Freshman Desirae Gonzalez led KHS with 20 points and seven rebounds and Taylor Reed added 14 points as the Lady Bulldogs were able to avenge their heart-breaking 55-52 loss to the Panthers suffered just days before.
"We knew the press got us in the fourth quarter the first time. We studied it and worked on it and it was almost to a T," Gonzalez said.
During the home loss on Dec. 17, KHS watched their 34-21 halftime lead slowly evaporate as a strong second half helped propel Coconino to the win. However, the rematch was a different story - Kingman took a 21-15 lead at halftime and held on to a 32-29 third quarter lead before outscoring the Panthers 15-12 in the fourth.
"The Coconino loss was upsetting to us and we had to implement some new things," Gonzalez said. "The girls came up to me: 'Coach, we need this drill. I remember doing this drill a couple of years ago and it was hard.' That's what I like to hear. When they were freshmen, I had to change coaching styles with new drills. As sophomores, I had to do the same thing. As juniors, I'm having to do the same, but the thing is they are seeing that this is something they needed."
KHS will return to the floor Saturday when the Lady Bulldogs travel to Flagstaff for a make up game from Dec. 14.