Subscribe for 17¢ / day

For the Flagstaff Eagles, there are goals and there are expectations.

With just one game remaining in the regular season, the Eagles all but attained their goal of being a top-four seed entering the 4A Conference state championship tournament thanks to Friday's win.

"That's one of our goals, it's not unspoken for us, we want to be at the top four, that way we can get the first two home games for the first two rounds of state," said Eagles head coach Tyrone Johnson. "If we can secure home-court advantage and make people come up here and play against our style of play, we think that's advantageous for us."

Winning the Grand Canyon Region was an expectation.

"We expect to compete for a region title," Johnson said. "Some people might take that the wrong way, but that's just our mentality."

Monique Ware needed just three quarters to get her game-high 18 points, Reece Honanie added nine and the No. 3-ranked Eagles completed the season sweep of the No. 5 Coconino Panthers to clinch the region at home. It was a Senior Nigh victory made sweeter for upperclassmen such as Ware and Mikaila Kayaani-Lee, who ended her night with four points in the 54-21 crosstown beatdown.

Ware and Kayaani-Lee set the game's physical tone, playing hard defense in the press and being aggressive on trips to the basket. All four of Kayaani-Lee's points came in the opening quarter to go with four first-quarter assists, one of which set up Ware for an early three-point play. Meanwhile, Ware ended the first quarter with seven points, single-handedly outscoring Coconino's six, which all came from Kortnee Begaye.

A total of eight different Eagles contributed buckets in the victory.

"Everyone contributed, everyone came off the bench and was able to play all out even though some people had mistakes," Honanie said.

Flagstaff, which never trailed in the victory, outscored Coconino 20-3 in the second quarter to take control of the game, win the region with a 12-0 record and improve overall in the regular season to 17-1.

"I look back and I just didn't have my girls prepared," said Panthers head coach Martin Reyes, whose team finished the regular season with a 16-3 overall record and a 10-2 region mark. "I thought we had a good game plan in place, but our execution just wasn't there enough. We started out with what we wanted to do -- give Kortnee the ball on the block, six straight points from her -- but then we kind of went away from that."

The Eagles have one regular-season game remaining against the Washington Rams in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Last year's region champions, the Panthers saw two of their leading scorers struggle offensively as Jada Golding had two points on a 2-of-4 performance at the free throw line and Kaylee Begay went scoreless.

"Tip my hat to coach Johnson and the Lady Eagles, they do what they do and they do it well," Reyes said, adding that he sees Flagstaff as a true state title contender.

Josie Faull contributed eight points for the Eagles, the last team between the rivals to complete a season sweep back in the 2014-15 season. The junior helped Flagstaff start the second half on a strong note, grabbing her own offensive rebound for a put-back to start the scoring.

"Just to put out that effort even though some of them were coming off sickness and injury, I was pleased. I was pleased to see some of our girls come off the bench and really work hard on the boards," Johnson said. "But at the same rate, Coconino wasn't at full-strength either.

Coconino's promising freshman and a regular in the starting lineup, Oniah Barton-Paddock, did not play.

Ware hit her lone 3-pointer of the night in the third quarter, giving the Eagles a 42-11 advantage. On the way to putting an end to Coconino's eight-game win streak that started after the first crosstown loss, Flagstaff ended its night with four 3-pointers coming from four different players.

Maya Tijerin led the Panthers in scoring with eight points, six of which came in the final stanza.

Mike Hartman can be reached at 556-2255 or at


Sports Reporter

Load comments