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Thu, Feb. 27

Prep Basketball: Lady Tigers' defense crucial in win over Chino Valley

Academy's Emily McCracken finished with a game-high 16 points Thursday in a 43-36 win over Chino Valley. (Photo by Beau Bearden/Kingman Miner)

Academy's Emily McCracken finished with a game-high 16 points Thursday in a 43-36 win over Chino Valley. (Photo by Beau Bearden/Kingman Miner)

KINGMAN – The Kingman Academy High School girls basketball team knows its success depends on how well it plays defense. That was on display Thursday as the Lady Tigers’ defensive intensity carried them to a 43-36 victory over Chino Valley at Betty Rowe Gymnasium.

“The whole team played great defense,” said Academy head coach Marty Edwards. “Our press was what did it. Chino set up in their offense probably a quarter of the time. Our press was working really well against them and the defense is what sets it all off.”

The Lady Tigers made sure Chino Valley could get never get in a groove offensively and carried that to the other side of the court.

That was especially important as Academy held a slim 39-36 advantage with 46 seconds left to play and it was anyone’s game to win.

However, Emily McCracken made sure the Lady Tigers walked away with a victory as her three-point play with 39 seconds clinched the victory.

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Academy's Faith Edwards scored six points Thursday in a win over Chino Valley. (Photo by Beau Bearden/Kingman Miner)

“Right before the game I told (Emily) the ‘and ones’ are what we need,” Edwards said. “Make them pay for fouling you. And she did a great job.”

McCracken finished with a game-high 16 points, while Lynsey Day added 12 and Faith Edwards chipped in six.

“This win helped us get back on track,” coach Edwards said. “After we shot so dismal (against Kingman last week), I watched the film and showed the girls our shot chart. We have to make our shots. We shot the ball much better in the paint and I’m happy about that.”

However, Academy still has some work to do at the charity stripe after finishing 17-for-39. But the Lady Tigers’ defense helped them overcome those struggles for a win that catapulted them into second place in the 3A West Region.

And Academy plays four of its final five games at home, which puts it in a good spot to advance to the state tournament as the top two teams in the region earn an automatic bid.

“We’re athletically gifted and we play basketball,” coach Edwards said. “That’s not a bad situation for a coach to be in. They’re getting better. They’re growing and I’m really happy about it.”

The No. 31 ranked Lady Tigers (5-6, 3-2 3A West Region) host No. 38 ranked River Valley (1-10, 1-4) at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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