KINGMAN - The largest KHS crowd of the year Tuesday saw Phoenix O'Connor experience what most teams have found out this year about the Kingman High girls basketball team - a team must be ready to play 32 minutes with the Lady Bulldogs.
KHS (10-0, 6-0 NW) used a 10-2 run late in the first half and a 19-0 run that lasted most of the third quarter to win its 14th consecutive game, 71-44 over the Eagles. Defense, free throws and senior guard Lindsey Reed's ability to take over a game spurred the Lady Bulldogs in the Northwest Region contest.
The exact number of O'Connor (2-7, 1-4) turnovers was not available, but KHS forced the Eagles into plenty of them. The Lady Bulldogs put themselves in the Eagles' passing lanes to the tune of 21 steals, and senior guard Shelby Lehew had her hands on many of O'Connor's passes.
"We work on drills to get us ready to react right away and to not wait on the play," Lehew said. "We've all gotten a lot better."
KHS coach Danny Gonzalez has seen Lehew blossom since inserting her into the starting lineup a month ago.
"Shelby doesn't back down and doesn't pout," the coach said. "It's nice to see her have success outside the classroom as well."
KHS sank 12-of-14 free throws, including 6-of-6 during the 10-2 run in the second quarter. Reed dazzled the crowd with a spin move from the right side of the rim to the left for an easy layup during the spurt. The Lady Bulldogs held a one-point lead, 24-23, when the run started and ended the first half up by nine, 34-25.
"The good thing is our conditioning," Gonzalez said. "Conditioning isn't a punishment, it's a reward. We made our free throws. When we practice hard, it carries us."
Reed scored a game-high 27 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists. Dominique Hale recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Tesla Morgan had 13 points, Amber Caswell scored eight, and Sara Reed was efficient with four points and four rebounds. Bianca Sapien and Michelle Bracy each chipped in two.
O'Connor had answers early on to problems the Lady Bulldogs presented. The Eagles led 13-12 at the end of the first quarter when they ripped through KHS' full-court press for five easy baskets.
Morgan had a slow start when three of her first-quarter shots rimmed in-and-out, and O'Connor got the breaks as it recovered from near turnovers.
"I told the girls after the first that we were going to see if they could play like that for 32 minutes," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez shifted his press to a 3/4-court press, which led to the Lady Bulldogs' first run. He went back to the full court version in the third, which took down the Eagles with the 19-0 run.
"The good thing is that we didn't panic," the coach said. "I told the girls not one of them hurts us."
KHS begins a two-game road trip Friday starting with Goldwater (4-6, 2-4 NW) in Phoenix. The Lady Bulldogs handled them 61-45 Dec. 14, but Goldwater is improving. It just lost at Surprise Valley Vista (8-2, 5-1 NW) Tuesday, 69-60.
"Goldwater is getting better," Gonzalez said.