By Sam Conner
The Winslow Lady Bulldogs defeated the Valley Sanders Lady Pirates 45-40 to win the Arizona State Division III Championship Saturday night in Glendale. The win ended Winslow’s season with a 27-5 record. Valley Sanders finished 27-4, with three of those four losses to Winslow.
The Lady Pirates led 16-12 after the first quarter, but Winslow rallied for a 26-21 advantage at the half. The margin was a seemingly comfortable 35-23 Winslow advantage after three quarters, but Valley Sanders outscored Winslow 14-1 in the first four minutes of the last quarter to take a 37-36 lead. The Lady Bulldogs regained the lead and hit crucial free throws to preserve the hard fought victory.
Shandiin Armao led all scorers with 17 points for Winslow, followed by Halle Hayes with 12 and Mattea Begaii with 10. Adriane Nez led the Lady Pirates with 11 points. Rolanda Mitchell added 9 for Valley Sanders.
Armao completed a weekend in which she led all scorers in totals of 32 points against Holbrook and 17 against Valley Sanders. She led all players with 15 rebounds in the semifinal game and 21 in the final game. The sophomore and senior Halle Hayes gave Winslow a strong inside game. Hayes was also in double figures in scoring and rebounds for both games.
Senior Mattea Begaii and junior Marcella Joe were also outstanding players for Winslow in both games. The entire team played hard and well all season to earn the championship.
Valley 16 5 2 17 40
Winslow 12 14 9 10 45
Valley Sanders: Adriana Nez 11, Kristan Quigley 6, Bettina Swatts 2, Rolanda Mitchell 9, Chelena Betoney 6 and Tamara Nez 6.
Winslow: Marcella Joe 5, Laylane Benslow 1, Halle Hayes 12, Shandiin Armao 17 and Mattea Bagaii 10.
The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Holbrook Lady Roadrunners 69-46 in a semifinal contest Friday night to earn a berth in the championship game and end Holbrook’s fine season with a 23-13 mark.
The first quarter was played on even terms with Winslow leading 17-6. The Bulldogs increased their lead to 37-28 at the half and were pulling away 51-35 after three quarters.
Armao had a fabulous game for Winslow, leading all players in points scored with 32, rebounds with 15, field goals with 10 and free throws with 12 of 15. Hayes followed with 11 points and Joe added 10.
Kaynasa Curley led Holbrook with 12 points, followed by Starla Smith with 10 and Jessica Paz with 7.
Free throws played a huge role in the game, with Winslow hitting 17 of 28 to Holbrook’s 10 of 14. The Roadrunners made six three-point shots to none for Winslow and that kept the game close in the first half when they hit four super shots. The Roadrunner defense did a good job of keeping the usually deadly Winslow long shot shooters closely guarded.
Holbrook 16 12 7 11 46
Winslow 17 20 14 18 69
Holbrook: Brittany Baldwin 4, Kaynasa Curley 12, Col’Bi Nez 2, Starla Smith 10, Jessica Paz 7, Summer Olney 3, Summer Charley 2, Teyah Goldtooth 4 and Mariah Cummings 2.
Winslow: Halle Hayes 11, Shandiin Armao 32, Marcella Joe 10, Laylane Benslow 2, Mattea Begaii 8, Tannon Tom 2 and Kaelyn Bitsoi 4.
The Valley Sanders Lady Pirates defeated the Window Rock Lady Scouts 55-52 in the other semifinal on Friday to earn the right to meet Winslow in the title game.
The Pirates built a huge first half lead, but had to hold off a furious Lady Scout comeback to escape with the victory.
Valley Sanders led 15-8 after the first quarter and 43-27 at the half. Window Rock cut the margin to 51-40 after three quarters and trailed only by a three-point margin as the final buzzer sounded.
Aspen Shepherd of Window Rock led all scorers with 31 points and got the Lady Scouts close.
Adrianna Nez led the Pirates with 17 points, followed by Kristan Quigley with 13.
Window Rk 8 19 13 12 52
Valley 15 28 8 4 55
Window Rock: Aspen Shepherd 31, Arianne Sheka 9, Makayla Lee 3, Skye Day 3 and Naomi Klah 6.
Valley Sanders: Kristen Quigley 13, Rolanda Mitchell 5, Bettina Swatts 3, Adriana Nez 17, Chelena Betoney 6, Tamara Nez 9 and Maranna Six 2.
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By Sam Conner