Winning their second game of the year, the Coconino Panthers (2-0) topped the Peoria Panthers (0-2) Thursday night at home, 58-45, thanks to a strong effort in the fourth quarter.
Members of the 4A Conference like Coconino, Peoria entered the game coming off a close 55-50 loss to Cactus Shadows.
The Panthers used the foul line to close out the game, going 13 for 17 in the final quarter.
Emilio Esquivel found his way to the charity stripe throughout the night, getting nine of his 15 points there for the Panthers, who took a 31-13 lead into halftime on their home court but were outscored 11-6 coming out of the break.
Both teams put up 21 in the fourth quarter.
Joram Watson was also a factor in the final stanza, notching nine of his 15 points when it mattered most. Brett McGowan added nine points, Abel Harris put up five, and Toby Freeman and Tristan Wilson each ended their nights with four apiece.
Coconino will head to Sedona for games against Grand Canyon rival Prescott, Sedona Red Rock and Winslow in the Red Rock Hoops Classic beginning Friday.
COCONINO 30, PEORIA 29
Taylor Hansen put her team on top with a free throw with 14 seconds left to play, Kortnee Begaye recorded 15 rebounds and nine points and the 4A Panthers held on to get their first win of the season Thursday in Peoria.
With the game tied at 23 heading into the final quarter, Coconino had fouls to give and used them to keep Peoria from the bucket.
Oniah Barton-Paddock added 10 points, and Jada Golding had five points and as many boards for the Panthers, who improved to 1-1 with the conference win.
The Panthers took a 19-16 lead into halftime after outscoring Peoria 11-7 in the second stanza before slowing down to just four points scored in the third.
Coconino plays its home opener against Metro Tech on Monday at 5:30 p.m. and opens the Grand Canyon Region slate the next afternoon with a 5:30 home game against Bradshaw Mountain.
Still searching for their first team victory of the season, the Flagstaff Eagles fell to Chinle, St. Johns and host Payson at a multi meet on Wednesday.
Flagstaff came up just short against fellow Division III opponent Chinle, 42-37, with both teams forfeiting several weight classes. The Eagles got one pin, coming at 132 pounds from Easten Skinner. Jakob Woods added three team points to the board for Flagstaff with his 6-1 decision at 126 pounds, and Keanu Arizona, who ended his day 2-1, contributed four points with a 14-0 major decision.
Arizona got a pin against his D-III Payson opponent in 1:31 but lost by fall against D-IV St. Johns, which notched nine pins in the 78-6 route to Flagstaff’s one from Sam Black at 160 pounds in 2:45.
Also in the 52-24 loss to Payson, Aiden Sedillo won by fall.