Once Winslow's run to the 3A Conference state title started, the team never slowed down.

The No. 2-seeded Bulldogs beat the top-ranked Blue Ridge Yellowjackets Monday, 79-63, in Glendale, making up for last season's loss in the finals.

On the way to the championship round in Gila River Arena, Winslow displayed dominance, routing the team that beat them for the title a year ago to get its tournament started. In the Round of 16, the Bulldogs nixed the No. 15 Fountain Hills Falcons, 80-56, and then went on to take out No. 7 Florence, 80-68, in the quarterfinals and No. 6 Chinle, 68-57, in the semis.

Last season, Winslow missed the title by a 55-48 score.

The final round of the 2018 championships came down to two members of the 3A's East Region. Over the course of the season, Winslow and Blue Ridge butted heads with mixed results. In the teams' first meeting of the regular season, Blue Ridge won 78-66, with Winslow avoiding the series sweep at home in the later meeting with a 88-76 victory.

Then, in the region tournament, the Yellowjackets stung back, with a 79-60 win.

This time, the Bulldogs had the bite. They took a 36-24 lead into halftime and were able to keep the Yellowjackets far behind, trailing just once the entire game.

Winslow had six seniors on the 2017-18 roster in Skyler Barlow, Dakota Spencer, Isaac Benale, Torrin Yazzie, Jalen Lyons and Ricardo Villanueva, the team's leading scorer and rebounder who averaged around 17.5 points per game to go with an average of about 5 boards per contest.

Villanueva showed up big for the game, recording a team-high 29 points to make sure his team brought home the hardware this time. Darius James had 18 points and Yoann Djassa contributed a near double-double night with 11 points and nine rebounds before fouling out of the game with nearly four and half minutes remaining.


Unable to get much practice time in before the season got underway, the Coconino Panthers dropped their 2018 opener to the Mesquite Wildcats on Monday, 4-1.

Coconino's sister act of Dana and Brooke Parker helped the Panthers avoid the sweep at Mesquite, winning 21-10, 21-15 in their first-ever beach match together. The two played indoor together as well this season, with Dana acting as the leading senior outside hitter and Brooke as the freshman setter.

On court No. 4 for Coconino in the Division I match, Sam Hampton and Mireya Cabrera played in the only three-set situation of the day. The duo opened with a 21-17 win, but dropped the second set 21-19 and the tie-breaker 15-10.

Shae Dahl and Ashley Monette paired up at No. 2 for the Panthers and lost 21-14, 21-13. At No. 3, Lexi Settle and Kendall Haylett took the loss, and at No. 5, Rain Varney and Sophie Sinek also lost.

The Panthers were originally set to play their first-ever home match at Coconino High on Wednesday, but with the incoming snowstorm, that milestone might be put off a few more days.