The Lady Roadrunners opened the season on the road at Coconino High School on Monday night and came away with a hard fought 45-38 win in what was a very physical game. Both teams played hard man defense for much of the night and neither was afraid of contact.
That contact put Holbrook into foul trouble in the first half and put the Lady Panthers on the free throw line fourteen times in the first half, where they made 12 to help give themselves a 23-22 halftime cushion. After Holbrook adjusted their defense in the second half they limited the home team to just a pair of second half free throws.
In the final minutes of the third and first few minutes of the fourth Holbrook began to pull away from a tight game and built a 16-point lead with just over three minutes remaining. Some defensive mistakes from Holbrook combined with some good shooting by the Panthers allowed them to close the gap to seven in the final minute, although the overall outcome was never really in doubt.
Holbrook built a four-point lead at the end of the first, paced by six points from Kellin Bakurza, but trailed by one at the half. In the third they stepped up their defense holding Coconino to just four points, while Jessica Paz sparked the offense, netting six which turned the game. In the fourth the Birds connected on five of six free throws to help put the game on ice.
Jessica Paz and Col’Bi Nez led the team in scoring with 9 apiece. Shantina Kinlicheenie and Kellin Bakurza both added 8 with Kinlicheenie’s, all coming in the second half. Aaren LaRose hit for 5 before leaving the game with an injury. Brittany Baldwin added 4, all from the free throw line and Kenalda Quinter came off the bench adding two points.
Holbrook made 11 of their 15 charity tosses, and hit only two 3-point field goals. Coconino made 12 of 18 free throws and also hit two treys.
“We really got into some early foul trouble and had to go deep into our bench in the first half. We were doing the right things defensively, just not moving as quick as we needed to. They have a tandem of two really good guards, which we were unable to stop until we switched our defense in the second half,” said Coach Greg Perkins. “They only made one field goal in the first quarter but shot their free throws extremely well. Once we got Shantina back into the game in the second half, we were able to get her going to the basket, which gave us a much needed offensive lift. This game was physical on both ends of the floor and we lost Aaren for most of the fourth period, but the other girls really stepped up and took on the challenge filling their roles like we expect.
“Although we gave away a lot of our lead late it is still good to start the season off with a win, especially against a division two school which will help us in the overall power point scheme. We now have over a week to heal up a bit and get ready for a busy stretch which begins at St. Johns on Dec. 2, against another physical team.”
Holbrook will play in St. Johns on Dec. 2, then face Mogollon on the 6th and see plenty of action in the Round Valley tournament beginning on Dec. 8.
Holbrook 13 9 15 8 45
Coconino 9 14 4 11 38
Photo by Kellie Spangler/spanglerpics.com
Jessica Paz looks for a way around her opponent during a varsity girls’ game last Monday against Coconino. The Lady Roadrunners defeated the Panthers 45-38.