Prep Basketball: Lady Vols hold off Kingman in defensive battle
KINGMAN – No squad expects to miss 17 free throws in the first half, but the Lee Williams High School girls basketball team overcame its struggles at the charity stripe Tuesday to defeat Kingman 41-29 at LWHS.
“A win is a win, but we have to clean up some stuff,” said Lady Vols head coach Jerry Arave. “We have to reward ourselves on offense. We play such great defense – we’re all over the place and we’re diving and doing all sorts of stuff. Then we miss layups, we miss easy shots and we miss our free throws.”
The first-game jitters definitely showed as both teams missed a number of shots. But the misses that hurt Lee Williams the most were at the free-throw line as it went 10-of-27 in the first half, which allowed the Lady Bulldogs to trail by just 11 at the break.
The Lady Vols didn’t lose their composure though, making enough plays down the stretch to get a season-opening victory and take a 4-3 advantage in the all-time series.
“I’m very pleased with our defense and our hustle,” Arave said. “We pressed the whole game and we didn’t stop. They didn’t seem to be too tired. They were a little tired at the end, but it wasn’t terrible.”
The pressure on the defensive end helped Lee Williams on the other side of the court as it scored a number of fast-break points. Lady Vols junior Savannah Jimenez led all scorers with 14 points, while Liberty Cronk tallied 11 points and Hayle Davis chipped in seven points.
However, Arave still knows the squad has to improve before play begins in the 4A Grand Canyon Region.
“We have to put the basketball in the hoop,” Arave said. “We missed a ton of easy shots. That’s going to hurt us against really, really good teams. We play Flagstaff and Coconino like that, we’re not going to be able to win if we can’t make those shots.”
Kingman also is finding its identity with just two seniors and a large group of new faces earning varsity minutes. Emilee Araya and Star Talayumpteua each notched eight points to lead the Lady Bulldogs and Hubbard knows the future is bright with a young team.
“This is supposed to be a rebuilding year for us,” Hubbard said. “I only lose Star and Emily at the end of the year. That means every other girl on the bench comes back. And if we’re playing tough games with 4A schools, I feel really good about where we’re at and the effort they give. I couldn’t be prouder as a coach. I love this team and I hope they keep fighting.”
Kingman is back in action at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Parker, while Lee Williams travels to the River Valley Shootout Friday, Dec. 6.