2/27/2014 6:00:00 AM Scoring drought ends season for Lady Bulldogs Buckeye advances to state D-II final four with win over Kingman
Kingman High’s Heather Weninger passes during the Lady Bulldogs first-round state tournament win over Canyon Del Oro Feb. 22. Weninger was a bright spot for Kingman in the loss to Buckeye Tuesday. She finished with five points, five rebounds and was a defensive force.
GLENDALE - Ask any coach if they would take giving up 39 points in a state quarterfinal game and most would say, "Yes." Unfortunately, that formula didn't work for the Kingman High girls basketball team when the Lady Bulldogs were eliminated from the AIA Division II Girls State Basketball Tournament by Buckeye in the quarterfinals Tuesday in Glendale, 39-29.
"You score 29 and only lose by 10 - you start looking at the what-ifs," said KHS coach Danny Gonzalez. "The basket and the ball didn't want to meet tonight."
One of those what-ifs was missed layups by Kingman (18-4). The Lady Bulldogs left at least 14 points off the scoreboard because of missing the close-in attempts. Kingman shot just 29 percent from the floor, including 0-for-8 from the 3-point arc.
Kingman didn't do itself any favors when it came to ball handling, either. The Lady Bulldogs committed 22 turnovers in the game and many of those were unforced.
"Every time we were about to make a run or could have made a run, we turned the ball over," Gonzalez said. "Because of that, when we didn't turn it over we weren't at ease when trying to score."
The Lady Bulldogs gave their fans hope in the third quarter. Trailing by 12 (23-11), Kingman went on a 6-0 run while keeping Buckeye (20-4) scoreless for two minutes. After a Buckeye timeout, the Hawks' Alliesandra Fuller scored two of her 17 points and put to rest any further threat by the Lady Bulldogs.
Kingman was up to the task on the defensive side. Fuller is a handful at 6 feet 3 inches tall and 275 pounds, but the Lady Bulldogs held the Hawks to 39 points and that can't be discounted.
"Generally, our defense creates our offense. When we got those opportunities and came down the court, we didn't do what we normally do and that is putting it in the basket," Gonzalez said.
Kingman ends the season with an overall record of 24-5, which includes tournaments. As the Lady Bulldogs start preparing to take this year's success into next year, they have a lot of shoes to fill. Starters Alison Owen, Taylor Reed, Rachel Arave and Stephanie Goulart, along with reserve Heather Weninger, are graduating in the spring.
"We talked about the wonderful careers the seniors had and what the younger girls need to do for next year," the coach said. "There's nothing for them to hang their heads about. They had a great season."