The Conference 4A Flagstaff girls basketball team took down 5A Lake Havasu, 58-16, in its first of two games Friday at the Pepsi Holiday Tournament, then beat 5A South Mountain, 73-43, in the nightcap to finish perfect in pool play.
It was a slow start for the host Eagles in the first game as they decided to rest their starters in preparation for the matchup against South Mountain. In the first quarter, Flagstaff struggled to score and finished the opening eight minutes with an 8-0 advantage.
“I think it was a good chance for them to go out and play in a situation where the game wasn’t already decided one way or another,” Eagles head coach Tyrone Johnson said. “It was a great opportunity for them to go out and decide the outcome of the game.
“It’s always good to see them go out there and perform. But at first, I thought we were a little sloppy and a little tentative,” Johnson added. “Once we kind of settled in, we were able to start putting some things together."
In the second quarter, Flagstaff picked up the tempo once normal starters Mikaila Kayaani-Lee and Hailey Armus came in the game to provide a jump-start. When the two entered the game the score was 8-0. Once they came out halfway through the quarter, the lead had grown to 21-4 as Armus scored eight points and Kayaani-Lee scored five to provide a lift in the quarter.
Throughout the first half, the Lake Havasu bench could be heard yelling “patience, patience” to the players on the court. Johnson said it is up to his team to make sure they play to their game plan to force teams out of their offense.
“We typically speed people up and have them do things that are uncharacteristic,” Johnson said. “We try to limit people’s ball reversals because if we sit there and we allow them to run their offense, then what are we doing on defense? The thing we emphasize to them, we aren’t here to practice and run sets. We are here to disrupt. As the game went on we got stronger in that area.”
The eight points by Armus was all she scored against Lake Havasu as she was subbed out for Aaliah Tsosie and would sit the remainder of the game. Kayaani-Lee finished the game with seven points.
To end the half, Sheridan Edgewater hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Flagstaff a 26-7 lead as they went into halftime.
The Eagles went on to blow the game open in the third quarter, as they won the frame 21-5. In the third quarter, five Eagles scored to push the lead to 47-12 entering the fourth. The Eagles slowed down the tempo in the fourth to coast to the win.
In the second game, Monique Ware scored 26 points to lead the Eagles, with Flagstaff getting points from nine other players, highlighted by Edison’s 10 that included a pair of 3s.
Flagstaff will face 3A Tuba City, pending a win for the Warriors Saturday morning against winless San Tan Foothills, in Saturday’s semifinals set for 11 a.m.
Tuba City beat Cactus 67-42 on Thursday before Friday’s 42-30 win against St. Mary’s.