By Greg Perkins
As expected, the Lady Wildcats steamrolled their way through the Division IV Section 3 Basketball Tournament held in Flagstaff last week, capturing the sectional tourney crown with a 76-59 win over Rock Point on Saturday night. That final 17-point margin made it the closest game they had in the tournament.
The Joseph City squad opened sectional play on Tuesday, quickly taking care of Rough Rock 73-28. In that contest, Kristin Baldwin led the way with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Running mate Searra Hansen added 18. Taylor Hill netted 9, Lindi Gardner and Brooke Baldwin, 8 each, Sierra Johnstun, 6, Kayla Hughes, 4, and Madison Fields, 1. As a team the Lady Wildcats collected 26 steals and had just four turnovers in the win.
In the semifinal round on Friday, Joseph City garnered big numbers from four starters to pound Red Mesa, 80-55. Hansen finished with 21, Fields, 18, Kristin Baldwin, 15, and Hill, 13. Hughes helped with 6, Brooke Baldwin, 3, and Johnstun and Gardner, 2 each. About the only place the Lady Wildcats struggled in this game was at the line, where they went just 19 for 37, a mark they will need to improve on as they move deeper into the state tournament. Their defense was again stellar with 25 steals.
In the championship game, the Lady Wildcats got a huge performance from Hansen. She finished with 34 points and pulled down 24 rebounds, helping the team to the sectional crown. Kristin Baldwin added 16 with 18 rebounds. Hill finished with 12 points, Fields, 7, Brooke Baldwin, 5, and Johnstun, 2.
The Lady Wildcats finished the season ranked fourth overall in Division IV. They received a first round bye in the state tournament, and will face either No. 20 Immaculate Heart or No. 13 Pima on Saturday, Feb. 16, at a site which had not yet been determined at press time. With a win in the second round they would advance to Prescott Valley on Thursday, Feb. 21, for a 9 a.m. tipoff in the quarterfinal round. The Lady Wildcats are on the same side of the bracket as top ranked Salt River, which finished 20-0 in power points, but they are on the opposite side from defending state champion Tempe Prep, which they wouldn’t face until the finals, if both teams advance that far.
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By Greg Perkins