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Thu, Feb. 27

Prep Basketball: Cronk leads Lady Vols past Mingus

Lee Williams senior Liberty Cronk, left, notched a game-high 15 points Friday in a 40-27 win at Mingus. (Miner file photo)

Lee Williams senior Liberty Cronk, left, notched a game-high 15 points Friday in a 40-27 win at Mingus. (Miner file photo)

COTTONWOOD – The Lee Williams High School girls basketball team started slow at Mingus Union, but forced enough turnovers to win their second straight Friday in a 40-27 decision.

“Well, it was a defensive battle for both teams,” said Lady Vols head coach Jerry Arave. “We only scored like six points each the first quarter, but then both teams kind of loosened up. I think our pressure defense was really, really good, we forced a lot of turnovers and I think that was the difference in the game.”

The No. 44 Lady Marauders (0-10, 0-6) jumped ahead 5-0 to open the game but the 30th-ranked Lady Vols cut that lead to one by the time the first quarter ended.

Lee Williams outscored Mingus 16-9 in the second quarter, 8-5 in the third and 12-8 in the fourth to pick up the victory.

“I think we got our nerves back,” Arave said. “We scored I think six points in the first quarter and we scored 14 in the second so I think we loosened up and Liberty (Cronk) hit a three and it just stretched them a little bit more. And when it stretched them we were able to get some layups and stuff.”

Cronk led all scorers with 15 points, while Lia Lucero added nine and Savannah Jimenez chipped in five for the Lady Vols.

Junior Yazmein Mestas led the Marauders with seven points.

The Lady Vols were 15-for–32 and Cronk almost outscored Mestas from the foul line alone.

“They got too many free throws,” said Mingus head coach Paul Ventura. “We have some, what I would call cheap fouls, a little bit of a hand check here or there and we ended up putting them on the foul line really early and then in the first half that didn’t hurt us very much. In the second half it definitely did, but they made their foul shots.”

Up next for Lee Williams (5-6, 2-4 4A Grand Canyon Region) is No. 13 Flagstaff (7-3, 6-0) at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and No. 12 Coconino (8-3, 5-1) at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

The Lady Vols’ next home game is Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 5:30 p.m. against No. 24 Bradshaw Mountain as they try to get into the 24-team postseason.

“They’re all big for us if we want to make the state tournament,” Arave said on Friday. “This morning we were ranked 30th and so we need to move into the top 24 and so it depends on how the other schools did tonight but we can’t afford to drop any. If we lose to Coconino or Flagstaff that’s not gonna hurt us, but we can’t lose to Mingus, Prescott or Mohave.”

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