KINGMAN - Kingman High's girls basketball team ripped Flagstaff Tuesday in a 55-28 win. The Lady Bulldogs faced a must-win situation in order to gain entry into the Division III, Section 1 tournament.
Flagstaff (4-1 S-1, 12-5 D-III) was previously unbeaten in section play, and the task appeared to be a daunting one for Kingman (3-2, 15-2). But the Lady Bulldogs had some secret motivation heading into the showdown.
"The told me they won this one for me because I was so pumped at practice (Monday)," said KHS coach Danny Gonzalez. "I honestly don't remember what it could have been. I've been coaching since 1986, coached in three state championship games, and this is the first time I've heard that."
Kingman wasted no time attacking the Eagles. The Lady Bulldogs jumped out to a 15-0 lead, which forced Flagstaff to call two early timeouts. Kingman led 23-7 at the end of the first quarter and 36-15 at the half.
"We were moving the ball and lighting it up," Gonzalez said. "They pressed us the whole game and we only had 11 turnovers."
Flagstaff did make a second-quarter run at the Lady Bulldogs with Kingman ahead, 28-15. Gonzalez called timeout and redirected his squad.
"We had to concentrate on staying off the sidelines and not being forced to play too fast," the coach said. "Everyone knew they had to settle down. They did. They were hearing and listening."
The Lady Bulldogs used an 8-0 run to end the quarter with a 21-point halftime lead.
Senior Taylor Reed led Kingman with 18 points, and she had nine rebounds and five assists. Desirae Gonzalez went for 14 points and had three blocked shots.
Rachel Arave was instrumental with nine points and 11 rebounds. Point guard Alison Owen scored six points, and had five assists with five turnovers.
"Alison did an outstanding job controlling the offense," Gonzalez said. "They pressed her the whole game."
Stephanie Goulart produced seven points and Heather Weninger added one in the win.
Kingman has just one game left in the regular season and a win over Mohave at 7 p.m. Friday on Senior Night at KHS would get the Lady Bulldogs into the section postseason tournament. Kingman is currently No. 8 in the D-III Seedings, so a spot in the state tournament appears to be assured regardless of what happens.
"We're not going to take Mohave lightly," the coach said. "The girls know there is no room for error. It's one game at a time. And it's Mohave and Senior Night."
The Lady Bulldogs have faced Mohave (0-4, 5-11) twice this season. Kingman won by 34 points on Nov. 26 and 30 points on Dec. 7.