Lady Tigers cruise into CAA semifinals

Laura Barnes

Laura Barnes

KINGMAN - Seniors Kayla Julien and Laura Barnes combined for 42 of the 45 points for the Kingman Academy girls basketball team in Saturday's Charter Athletic Association 3A state championship quarterfinals in Phoenix, and the Lady Tigers cruised past No. 10 Tempe Tri-City 45-22 to advance.

"We played pretty well," KAHS coach David Scroggins said. "I think they're pretty comfortable right now."

Julien finished with 25, and Barnes had 17.

The win over Tri-City (2-10) sets up a rematch against No. 3 Mesa Heritage (11-4) in the semifinals. The Heroes dispatched No. 7 Phoenix Precision (8-4) easily in the quarters, 56-19.

KAHS (16-1 overall, 11-1 CAA 3A) beat Heritage in Mesa 53-51 in the last regular-season game Feb. 11. In that game, Julien led with 12, and Barnes, Jordan Book and Kaylee Mueller each scored six.

Heritage bothered the Lady Tigers with a half-court 2-2-1 zone-defense. KAHS struggled in first quarter when the Heroes out-hustled the Lady Tigers, but KAHS regrouped when Juleigh Long hit a couple of critical shots in the second quarter to spark the Lady Tigers.

Scroggins made adjustments to offset Heritage's zone, and he thinks that the combination of having seen it and being able to practice for it this week should turn the scales completely toward the Lady Tigers.

Against Tri-City, KAHS won by 23 despite having limited services from Book and Mueller. Both were ill last week, and Book played sparingly while Mueller didn't play at all.

"A lot of the girls stepped up and played really well," Scroggins said.

If KAHS can get past Heritage for the second time this season in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Phoenix Christian High and extend its winning streak to 14, the Lady Tigers will play for the state championship at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix.

"The key to winning is to execute what we do better than the other team," the coach said. "We need to pressure the other team, rebound and push the ball up the court."