Lady Bulldogs roll into state
KINGMAN - Both Willow Canyon and the Kingman High girls basketball team wanted to improve on their seeding for the Class 5A-II state tournament, which starts on Wednesday. It was only the Bulldogs who jumped up in the rankings after KHS withstood a corporal assault from the Wildcats for a 57-49 Northwest Region win in Surprise on Tuesday.
"It was a really physical game," KHS coach Danny Gonzalez said. "We all had something to gain and were in fear of what we could lose."
KHS (13-5, 7-3) led by as many as 10 in the first half over Willow Canyon (8-10, 3-7), but could only hold onto a five-point lead at the break, 23-18. Turnovers, poor free-throw and inside shooting kept the Bulldogs from enjoying a larger advantage.
"We missed a ton of layups and free throws," Gonzalez said. "We had our turnovers, which we discussed in the locker room. We have to understand who our worst nemesis is, and at times, it's us."
KHS extended the lead to eight by the end of third quarter 40-32 and held off the Wildcats in the fourth to secure the win. For the second consecutive game, Lindsey Reed scored 27 points. Reed also had seven rebounds and seven assists.
"To be honest, you have to credit Lindsey Reed," Gonzalez said. "Lindsey being as strong as she is was able to keep the basketball. She's a strong-willed kid."
Gonzalez said Reed finished the game with a black eye and multiple bruises after the hard-fought battle was over.
Senior Cassidy Elliott played a large role for the Bulldogs with a double-double, scoring 16 points and snaring 10 rebounds.
"Cassidy worked her tail off," Gonzalez said. "Her inside jumper was on. I'm real proud of her being a senior and a team captain. She loves the challenges."
Sarah Murphy added eight points and nine boards, Jennica Peck had six points, Dominique Hale and Tesla Morgan each had three and Amber Caswell contributed one.
"Amber helped us out defensively once she got the jitters out," Gonzalez said.
The win left KHS in a three-way tie for first in the Northwest Region with Glendale Deer Valley and Surprise Valley Vista. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Deer Valley gets the title with a 3-1 record against KHS and Valley Vista. KHS was 2-2, and Valley Vista finished 1-3.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association must first audit the power rankings before releasing the state brackets, but it appears KHS will host Tucson Rincon (10-8) on Wednesday in the first round of the playoffs as the No. 6 seed.