KINGMAN - After scoring two points in the opening quarter, the Lee Williams girls basketball team found its mojo and battled back for a 43-33 win over Parker Wednesday at LWHS.
Lee Williams (3-2 Division III) beat Deer Valley Tuesday in Glendale in a one-point battle, 34-33, but LWHS girls basketball coach Cain Atkinson wasn't having any of that to explain the Lady Vols' slow start against Parker (0-4).
"It did look like we were a little bit tired, but there's no excuse for the way we played tonight," the coach said. "We should have played better. I thought defensively we should have been better."
Lee Williams trailed 7-2 after the first quarter but raced back to tie the game at halftime, 17-17. When Marli Lauck put back an offensive rebound with 2 minutes, 20 seconds left in the third quarter, it was the first lead of the game for the Lady Vols, 25-23. Lee Williams never trailed again. Lauck finished with six points.
Atkinson's halftime speech to his team resonated with the players.
"The first half we played iffy," said junior forward Mya Radler. "Coach told us we needed to figure it out because we weren't listening to him. We talked as a group and figured out what we needed to do better and fixed it. We pulled through."
Radler scored 10 points.
Lauck's bucket came in the midst of a 15-0 run that lasted into the first two minutes of the fourth quarter. The Lady Vols led by as many as 12 in the final quarter, but Parker narrowed it down to seven, 40-33, with 1:22 left. Lee Williams fought them off with a basket by Radler and a free throw from Madi Arave.
"They had more energy in the third and were flying around," Atkinson said. "They were communicating a little more."
Short shot attempts and free throws combined to nearly sink Lee Williams. Field goal statistics were not available, but the Lady Vols only made 8-of-24 free throws.
"The wide-open layups - we have to make those. We missed tons," Atkinson said. "Every time we get fouled we never make free throws. That's just another turnover."
Sadie Snay scored a game-high 11 points for Lee Williams. Arave added eight, Jackie Millim tallied six and Courtney Jennay had two.
"I can understand the turnovers but it's the effort," Atkinson. "The effort should always be there. The effort wasn't there tonight, and that's the most disappointing thing for me. I just want us to play hard."
Lee Williams opened play at the Pepsi Tournament in Flagstaff Thursday with a 48-15 win over San Tan Foothills. The tournament continues through Saturday.