KINGMAN – A five-point lead with 1:44 remaining in the game isn’t bad, but it’s far from a comfortable margin.
Girls basketball: Kingman at Kingman Academy - Jan. 18, 2019
The Kingman High School girls basketball team picked up its 11th straight victory Friday with a 51-43 win over Kingman Academy. Photos by Beau Bearden.
The Kingman High School girls basketball team found itself in that situation Friday, but Sukwana Quasula’s 3-pointer propelled the Lady Bulldogs to a 51-43 victory over rival Kingman Academy at Betty Rowe Gymnasium.
“That’s senior leadership right there,” Hubbard said of Quasula’s basket. “I can’t say enough about her tonight. She’s kind of had a down three or four games now where the points weren’t coming. I told her every day in practice, ‘It’ll come. Keep shooting. Keep doing your thing.’ And it did – it did in a big way for us tonight.”
Quasula’s game-high 24 points made sure Kingman extended its winning streak to 11 games.
But she had some help from another senior.
Kearra Tauta chipped in 13 points as the duo once again proved they are difficult to stop when they find their groove.
“Tonight Kearra (Tauta) and Sukwana (Quasula) knew it was time to put on a show,” Hubbard said. “They knew that they had to step up and hit some big shots in big moments. And they did. It kept us going and I couldn’t be prouder of them for doing what’s really hard to do – stay focused and knock down shots.”
And Quasula’s trey with 1:27 remaining couldn't have come at a better time as it ended the Lady Tigers’ 6-0 run that had brought them within five points, 45-40.
Academy head coach Garth Steed called a timeout before Quasula made her clutch shot and he hoped it would prevent what ultimately happened.
“(Sukwana Quasula) killed us,” Steed said. “And I told them even in that timeout, ‘We have to know where she is at.’ She’s a good player.”
However, Steed was pleased with the fact Academy kept it close against the top team in the 3A West Region.
“That’s what I told the girls – “They’re No. 1 in our region and we played right with them,’” Steed said. “That was a little bit of an eye-opener at the beginning of the game. But we saw that we can compete.”
Ashlee Steed led the Lady Tigers with 12 points, including 10 in the second half, while Emily McCracken scored 11 and Faith Edwards finished with nine points.
While all three were important, coach Steed had some praise for McCracken.
“She works her butt off every night – she really leads us,” he said. “A lot of times how she goes, the rest of the team goes. She had some big baskets down the stretch. She had some big stops on defense on that run. She played a terrific game.”
No. 27 ranked Academy (6-4, 2-2 3A West Region) is on the road at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday against 24th-ranked Chino Valley (6-6, 1-3), while the No. 10 ranked Lady Bulldogs (11-1, 5-0) are idle until 5:30 p.m. Thursday when they travel to face the same Lady Cougars squad.
“We’re half way through region play with five wins and now we turn it around and try to do it again,” Hubbard said. “It gets tougher every time because teams know what you like to do, teams know who you are and teams will keep picking at it. You won’t be surprised if they give heavy pressure to Kearra (Tauta) and Sukwana (Quasula), and Payton (Chamberlain) when she gets back. We have to adjust and some of those younger players are going to step up. I have full belief that they will and we’re going to be just fine.”
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