After starting the season 6-0, it looked like the Kingman High girls basketball team was destined to make the Division I playoffs.
But season-ending injuries to Desirae Gonzalez and Rachel Arave and a five-game losing streak have derailed those plans - sending the Bulldogs from the 24th and final playoff spot to No. 31 in the latest power rankings.
KHS got back on track Tuesday with a 65-36 win against Willow Canyon in Surprise, and Thursday looked like a team ready to make a final strong push toward the playoffs with a 71-36 romp over Bullhead City Mohave.
"We knew we were going to come out with some energy," said KHS coach Danny Gonzalez. "We talked to the girls a little bit about how the Mohave coach came out and scouted the players and they didn't know we had some injuries. I passed it on to the girls that Mohave wanted to come to our house and they wanted to beat us."
If the Thunderbirds had any thoughts of beating Kingman Thursday, they went out the window in the second quarter and were last seen hiding near the woodshed. That's when the Lady Bulldogs outscored Mohave 29-12 as Taylor Reed and Alison Owen combined for 24 points.
"We weren't physical in the first quarter," Gonzalez said of the 13-12 quarter lead. "We needed the second quarter. We just reminded them to come out with some energy like we did against Willow (Canyon). "
Reed ended the night with 21 points, including 14 in the second quarter. Owen had 20 points, 10 in the second. Stephanie Goulart scored a triple nine in points, steals and assists to go with 12 rebounds.
"She was all over the floor," Gonzalez said of Goulart.
Reed led KHS with 21 points against Willow Canyon while Goulart had 16 and Owen 15.
KHS held a 42-24 lead at halftime and took a 63-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
"We knew we had to play hard. Had we not blown opportunities against (Mesa) Westwood we would have a three-game win streak," Gonzalez said.
Arave injured her knee in the third quarter of KHS' 35-36 loss to Westwood last week. She was later diagnosed with a torn MCL and is done for the season and will possibly miss the upcoming softball season. Arave joins the injured list that also includes Desirae Gonzalez, the freshman who was having a super season until she broke her foot during Kingman's make up game with Flagstaff on Jan. 5.
The injures have caused Gonzalez to shuffle the starting lineup around while bringing up players from the junior varsity team to fill in. Despite this, Gonzalez said the mood of the team has remained upbeat and positive.
"They know it's us and we have to play with what we have and do the best we can," Gonzalez said. "For them to understand that we need to be more of a team says a lot about them. Nobody has their heads down. We are having fun on the court, they are hustling and giving each other high fives because they know they're all working hard."
KHS (11-7) played host to Surprise Valley Vista on Friday and made up a game with Prescott on Saturday.
With no seniors on the roster, the Lady Bulldogs will honor their only senior on the team, manager Dyllan Farney, before Tuesday's game with Lake Havasu. KHS will close out the regular season with games at Mohave on Thursday and at Prescott on Friday.