PHOENIX -- It was a tale of two halves for the Flagstaff Eagles girls basketball team on Friday in Grand Canyon University Arena.
After the first half, the No. 3-seeded Eagles saw themselves down just 26-23 to the No. 2-seeded Pueblo Magnet Warriors with a bid to the 4A Conference state finals on the line.
A 16-0 run from Pueblo that spanned from the 5:40 mark of the third quarter to the five-minute mark of the fourth changed that. The run, coupled with nine third-quarter turnovers in the same span, greatly hindered the Eagles as they finished the 52-32 loss with 30 total turnovers.
Eagles head coach Tyrone Johnson said that despite the loss, he is proud of how far the team got and for their effort this season.
“I’m proud of them. Just proud of the effort they put in throughout the year. It’s always tough to end it at this stage when the goal is one more,” Johnson said. “As far as my tenure goes, it’s probably the best outing we’ve had as far as wins and losses.”
In the final game of her Flagstaff High School career and playing on a sprained ankle suffered in the quarterfinals against Coconino, Eagles guard Monique Ware struggled to score as she posted just three points on 1-for-9 shooting. Her only made basket came in the third quarter on a corner 3-pointer to tie the game at 26.
“Definitely proud of her and her growth over the course of her four years here at Flagstaff High School,” Johnson said. "I’m looking forward to seeing her play at the next level and hopefully continuing to do this for a little while longer.”
Fellow senior Mikaila Kayaani-Lee recorded just six points on 2-for-3 shooting and was in foul trouble for most of the game.
The Eagles shot just 5 for 21 from 3-point range, a 21 percent clip, and were 13 for 46 from the field overall, 28 percent. Flagstaff was held to fewer than 50 points in a game for just the second time all season, the first coming in a win against Prescott on Jan. 19.
“I just didn’t think we responded to the challenge in a way we hoped we would. … I think eventually it got to them,” Johnson said.
No Eagle hit double-digit scoring as Emma Doskicz scored a team-high nine points on 3-for-9 shooting, all from behind the arc. Pueblo was led by Ilyssa Galindo, who was defended throughout the game by Eagles guard Ashley Edison and scored a game-high 12 points on 6-for-17 shooting.
The Eagles finish 18-1 overall in the regular season to go with a Grand Canyon Region title and a second straight semifinal appearance in the state tournament. They had also won their Pepsi Holiday Tournament with five straight victories.