Feb 222013

The Lady Roadrunners have advanced to the final four of the Division III State Basketball Tournament after wins over Alchesay last Saturday and Tuba City on Monday morning. Entering the tournament as the 12th overall seed, Holbrook advanced to the second round after defeating Estrella Foothills in round one. Saturday afternoon’s match up in the Walkup Skydome with fifth seeded Alchesay offered the Lady Birds a chance at revenge after suffering what was their first loss of the season back in December to the Lady Falcons.
Brittany Baldwin hit a pair of threes in the opening eight minutes, helping the Lady Birds to a two-point cushion. In the second period Baldwin added two more treys and Shandie Demuth came off the bench with a lot of energy, scoring eight in the frame, giving Holbrook a 12-point halftime cushion.
In the third, Holbrook went cold from the field and struggled with turnovers, allowing the Lady Falcons to get back into the game. Leading by just three late in the period, Baldwin and Teyah Goldtooth connected from distance on back-to-back possessions, quickly pushing the margin back to nine heading to the fourth. Down the stretch the Lady Falcons made another run, cutting the lead to only two, but a pair of free throws by Starla Smith sealed the deal, moving the Lady Roadrunners on to the quarterfinal round with a 47-42 win.
“Brittany and Shandie really stepped it up in this game. Both were hitting shots and the entire team played solid defense. We knew they would make a run and we were able to withstand it to get the win,” said Coach Greg Perkins.
Baldwin led the team in scoring with 18, all coming on six treys. Demuth finished with 9 and several key rebounds. Goldtooth added 7, Starla Smith, 4, Jessica Paz, 3, Col’Bi Nez and Samantha Smith, 2 each, and Summer Olney and Kaynasa Curley, 1 each. As a team the Lady Roadrunners hit eight of 16 free throws and seven shots from distance.
Alchesay made 13 of 14 free throws, but just one shot from behind the arc.
That win moved the Lady Roadrunners to Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley for a quarterfinal matchup with fourth seeded Tuba City on Monday morning.
“Tuba City came into this game playing very well, having won four of their past five, including wins over Winslow, Window Rock, and Shiprock,” said Coach Perkins.
With a trip to Glendale and the final four on the line, the Lady Warriors started quickly, grabbing a 4-0 lead before Curley broke the ice for Holbrook with a corner three. Holbrook struggled from the field throughout the first half and trailed 27-19 at the break.
In the third, Tuba City started to open up a wider margin, leading by as many as 13 points with under two minutes remaining in the quarter. Starla Smith then sparked a nine-point run for Holbrook with a drive for two and a foul. Goldtooth and Baldwin then connected from distance on back-to-back trips, cutting the lead to just six points. A late bucket by the Lady Warriors gave them an eight-point lead with eight to play.
In the fourth Holbrook’s defense really clamped down, forcing several steals and driving buckets from Starla Smith and Paz along with a fourth three-point shot from Goldtooth which propelled Holbrook to a one-point lead with under two minutes remaining. Down the stretch the Lady Roadrunners ran enough time off the clock and made enough free throws to get a four-point lead. They needed that margin to help overcome a couple of late turnovers, and in the end Holbrook advanced to the final four with a 45-43 win.
Goldtooth led Holbrook’s offense with 13 points. Starla Smith added 11, all in the second half. Nez finished with 7, Curley, 6, Paz, 5, and Baldwin had one big three-point shot. Holbrook made just 13 of 27 free throws and hit six from distance.
The Lady Warriors made 15 of 24 charity attempts, but failed to connect from outside the arc.
“These girls really pulled off something special in this game. I’m still not quite sure how we came out with a win, but to come from as far back as we were against such a good team shows how much heart and desire this group of girls has. They just never gave up and they were relentless on defense,” said the coach.
“We had a great fan base follow us to both Flagstaff and Prescott, along with our home game last week, which really helped the girls gain the momentum and pull out the improbable win. We are the lowest seeded team remaining in the final four, but I really don’t think these girls are too concerned about that.”
Holbrook, now 23-12, will face top seeded and longtime rival Winslow in the second semifinal game at 6:15 tonight (Feb. 22) at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. With a win the Lady Roadrunners would see either No. 2 Valley Sanders or No. 3 Window Rock in the title game at 8 o’clock on Saturday night.