Girls basketball: Lady Vols finish 2-2 at Prescott Winter Classic

KINGMAN – The Lady Volunteers of Lee Williams High School finished their performance in the Prescott Lady Badger Winter Classic this week with two games against regional opponents, topping Prescott by more than 10 points but falling to Coconino High School by a single point.

A defensive battle in the first quarter of Lee Williams’ game against Prescott led to only 10 points being tallied on the scoreboard, eight for Lee Williams and two for Prescott. Four different Lady Vols contributed to the scoreboard in the first, and the team’s half-court trap resulted in multiple forced turnovers.

Up by six points to start the second quarter, the Lady Vols were able to expand their lead to 15 points thanks to contributions from junior Rebecca Arave and junior Toria Gravell, who notched seven and four points in the quarter, respectively.

Lee Williams’ defense continued to have success, allowing only four Prescott points in the second quarter to bring the score at halftime to 21-6.

The third quarter saw the Badgers come out strong, scoring 10 points to the Lady Vols’ five. A three-point bucket courtesy of Arave toward the end of the quarter kept the Lady Vols in the lead by 10 points, 26-16.

Recovering from scoring only five points in the previous quarter, the Lady Vols were back in form in the fourth, adding 11 points to the scoreboard while allowing only eight, setting the final score at 37-24, Lee Williams.

“We needed a win like this,” said head coach Jerry Arave. “It wasn’t pretty, but we played tough and the girls refused to let down or give up the lead. Haley Smith, our only senior, showed toughness and leadership by playing hard-nosed defense and grabbing eight steals in the game. She was a difference maker.”

Arave led the Lady Vols on the scoreboard with 12 points, followed by Gravell with 11, junior Brooke Hunter with eight, and sophomore Chelsea Torrey, junior Avery Pettway and sophomore Taliyah Crook with two each.

Next up for the Lady Vols was a matchup against the Coconino High School Panthers, the first quarter of which saw the two teams display differing styles of play. Coconino, which notched 15 points in the quarter, hit mid-range jump shots while the Lady Vols utilized a power game underneath to score 10 points courtesy of Arave and Hunter.

“We felt we were playing well offensively, but we needed to put pressure on Coconino’s guards,” Arave said. “Otherwise, the game could get out of hand.”

Gravell’s 10-point performance in the second quarter propelled the Lady Vols to a 24-20 lead at halftime, with the defense allowing only five Panther points in the quarter.

“Toria definitely gave us a lift,” Arave said. “She worked hard on both ends of the floor and the girls were able to find her at the right moments where she could shoot in rhythm.”

But the Panthers were back at the start of the third quarter, notching 12 more points to Lee Williams’ six in the quarter. That gave Coconino the lead 32-30 going into the final quarter of the game.

Arave scored all nine of the Lady Vols’ fourth-quarter points, with the Lee Williams defense allowing only eight Panther points. “Becca did a great job driving to the hoop where she either scored or was fouled,” the head coach said. “She kept us in the game for sure.”

The contest came down to the final seconds, as Coconino led by three points and the Lady Vols were forced to foul to stop the clock. The Panthers missed the free throw, with Arave securing the rebound and driving the ball to the other end of the floor for a score, cutting the lead to a single point. The Lady Vols got the ball back down by a point, but were unable to tie or take the lead with 10 seconds left, bringing the final score to 40-39, Coconino.

Arave, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, led Lee Williams with 18 points, followed by Gravell with 10 and Hunter with nine.

“This was a really good game played by two very tough teams,” coach Arave said. “We are growing as a team and the girls are beginning to believe they can play with anyone. That should go a long way when we return to region play after New Years.”

The 8-6 Lady Vols will resume the season on Jan. 4 at home against 1-7 Lake Havasu.

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