Coconino boys basketball made an effort to schedule some of the best teams the 4A Conference has to offer and got possibly the best of them Friday night.
The 13th-ranked Coconino Panthers led the No. 1 Peoria Panthers 21-17 at halftime, controlling the pace and flow on their home court. Then the visitors showed a bit of why they are at the top of the conference.
Peoria outscored Coconino 21-2 from the start of the third quarter until a minute into the fourth to open up a double-digit lead that it held the rest of the way en route to a 50-38 win at Coconino High School.
Coconino couldn’t answer Peoria’s change of gears after halftime, as the visiting Panthers turned up their pressure and forced Coconino’s guards into tough positions and turnovers. Coconino committed 16 turnovers as a team, 10 by starting guards Jacob Begay and Preston Olney combined.
“They cranked it up in the third, we were in shock a little bit,” Panthers head coach Mike Moran said. “I love this team. We battle every night, and we played some really good teams this year and we need that. That’s how you get better, and we will learn from it and continue to battle.”
Moran wasn’t discouraged by the loss, but admitted that it would have been nice to nab a win finally over a top-flight team after so many close calls this season. Still, he thinks his team has earned the respect of the rest of the 4A as playoffs loom.
“They showed us a lot of respect here tonight and I appreciate that,” Moran said. “The kids have worked hard to be where they are at. … We would love to get those but we got to keep working. We got nine guys coming back next year.”
Coconino fell to 11-6 overall with the loss -- its fourth defeat by a team ranked in the top six of the 4A power rankings -- and Peoria remained perfect at 17-0.
The score wasn’t indicative of how the Coconino Panthers challenged the highly touted Peoria Panthers.
Begay, who finished seven points on just 1-of-5 shooting from 3-point range, again showed out defensively, holding Peoria star guard Isaac Monroe, who came in averaging 18 points per game, to just nine points, all in the second half. But Peoria took advantage of a key Coconino absence.
Coconino big man William Mcmenamin was held out of the game due to a concussion sustained on Tuesday in Coconino’s win over Mingus.
Without Mcmenamin, Andrew Anderson had to fill the void and guard Peoria’s 6-7, near 250-pound big man Kevin Kogbara.
Anderson held his own for much of the game, but the lack of depth with Mcmenamin out allowed Kogbara to control the interior and set the pace early. He finished with 13 points, 10 in the first half to keep Peoria close.
“He played really well and helped keep us in it,” Moran said of Anderson. “He kept (Kogbara) off the boards a bunch, played pretty good D, I thought. We needed him and he came through. (Kogbara) is a great athlete.”
You have free articles remaining.
Coconino, which has already locked up the Grand Canyon Region title, will face crosstown rival No. 16 Flagstaff (12-6, 7-4 Grand Canyon) Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Flagstaff’s War Memorial Gymnasium.
EAGLES 60, MARAUDERS 47
Flagstaff played a struggling Mingus team close -- much like Mingus did earlier in the week against Coconino -- but the Eagles turned it on in the second half to take their seventh straight win in Cottonwood.
No. 16 Flagstaff, now 12-6 and 7-4 in the Grand Canyon, is rolling as of late, with the crosstown game against Coconino the only regular-season game left.
Christian Lancaster scored 20, while Nick Sneezy had 17 and Josh Lenners scored 13 in the win Friday.
PEORIA PANTHERS 32, COCONINO PANTHERS 31
No. 11 Coconino had struggles shooting on the road in a scrappy losing effort Friday against 22nd-ranked Peoria, which ended the visitor's six-game win streak.
Coconino (14-4, 10-1 Grand Canyon Region) shot below 20% from the field, with Kiana Manuelito leading the offense with 13 points to go with six rebounds and five steals. Maya Long provided 10 boards and three points for Coconino, which also lost to Peoria (9-8, 3-4 West Valley Region) in heartbreaking fashion, 31-28.
Wynter Huskie finished with five points, Kaelynn Ashley added four and Coconino trailed 23-18 at halftime. Coconino outscored Peoria overall in the second half but points were hard to come by late as shots wouldn't drop.
Coconino is at Flagstaff High School to take on the Eagles for a crosstown rivalry game Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
EAGLES 66, MARAUDERS 33
Freshman Miyah Verse recorded 13 points, senior Emma Doskicz added 11 and No. 4 Flagstaff beat 4A bottom feeder Mingus Union Friday in Cottonwood, increasing its win streak to 10 while completing the regular-season sweep of another Grand Canyon Region opponent.
Four different Eagles -- Jasmynn Tsosie, Rebecca Encinas, Sage Begay and Audrianna Williams -- finished with five points apiece, and Flagstaff (15-3, 11-0) put another notch on its 2019-20 region crown.
Flagstaff hosts Coconino for the regular-season finale on Tuesday looking to go 12-0 in the region for a third consecutive year.