By Greg Perkins
Hoping to forge their way to a rematch with Tempe Prep in the Division IV title game Joseph City’s Lady Wildcats came up one point short in the semifinal round, losing out to top ranked Salt River 49-48 on Friday night at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
Both teams started slowly, with Joseph City holding a 6-4 first quarter lead. Salt River made up that deficit and forced a 17-17 tie at the break.
The Wildcats came out strong in the third, holding Salt River to just six while netting 17 to take a double digit lead to the fourth. Joseph City built a 12 point lead early in the fourth behind a strong effort from Searra Hansen and Kristin Baldwin, but down the stretch they saw that double digit cushion wilt under pressure from Salt River. The Eagles finally caught and surpassed the Wildcats with 17 seconds left in the game, taking their first lead of the second half on a free throw. Joseph City could not score in the waning seconds, and ended the season with an overall mark of 25-7.
Taylor Hill led the Wildcats in scoring with 16 in her final game for Joseph City. Kristin Baldwin and Madison Fields added 10 each.
Salt River went on to defeat Tempe Prep 37-35 in the championship game on Saturday night.
The Wildcats earned their trip to the final four with a dominating performance over Fort Thomas on Thursday morning, also at Tim’s Toyota Center. Joseph City led by just two at the end of the first, but broke open the game in both the second and third periods and eventually advanced in the bracket with a 62-38 win.
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By Greg Perkins