The Flagstaff girls basketball team opened pool play at the Pepsi Holiday Tournament with a 74-24 win over 2A Conference Hopi on Thursday at War Memorial Gymnasium.
Josie Faull led the Eagles with 11 points, eight coming in the first quarter alone, as the hosts controlled the tempo and used their high-pressure style to easily take the win.
All 14 Eagles who played put points on the scoreboard. Despite winning by a wide margin, the Eagles played passionately the entire game whether it was the starters or the second unit in the game.
“When they get on the floor, they got to make sure they’re showing their value,” said Flagstaff coach Tyrone Johnson. “They got to make sure we don’t fall off, because when you get off the floor that’s your chance to show improvement like ‘Coach, hey, I’m ready. Put me in.’
“A game like today, we were able to sub in for five … and you get to see what some people can do that normally don’t get in early in the game,” Johnson added. “So when we have those chances we want to give them the opportunity.”
In the first quarter, the Eagles jumped out to an early 22-3 lead in just under five minutes. At the 3:16 mark in the first, Johnson substituted out the entire Eagles starting lineup and brought in the second unit. Even with a new five in, the lead only grew as the quarter ended with a 30-7 advantage.
The Eagles struggled to score in the first few minutes of the second quarter, but once the starters came back in the game the momentum quickly changed.
With the score at 30-11 and 4:38 left before halftime, Flagstaff went on a 19-0 run to end the half with a 49-11 lead. The rest of the game was in the Eagles’ control as they kept their lead and ended with the win.
With the two more days in the Holiday Tournament ahead, Johnson said he wants his team to work on playing the way they know how to play: with pace and pressure.
“I just want us to play to our level,” he said. “I don’t want us to play to anybody else's level. If we’re supposed to win big, then let’s win big. If it’s supposed to be a good game, then let’s come out and play our way and let the scoreboard take care of itself.
“Those are things that we emphasize,” Johnson added. “That regardless of who we’re playing, we have to play a certain way night in and night out. We just want to continue to play Lady Eagle basketball and push the pace and do what we do.”
Flagstaff (5-0) has a doubleheader Friday against 5A Lake Havasu (1-4) at 4 p.m. and 5A South Mountain (3-3) at 7 p.m. From there, teams will advance to Saturday's bracket play based on their record.