1/2/2013 9:16:00 AM Bradshaw girls' hoops Ladies have perfect tourney run, title win over Prescott
Bradshaw’s Dacie Clark (40) drives towards the hoop while Prescott’s Cassidy Peeples (3) tries to stop her Saturday afternoon during the Championship game of the Big O Winter Classic Basketball Tournament at Prescott High School. Bradshaw beat Prescott to win the tournament 42-33.
Photo courtesy Matt Hinshaw
With three starters back from its 2011-12 squad that advanced to the Elite Eight of the Division II state tournament in February, the Bradshaw Mountain High girls' basketball team has been riding a wave of confidence this season.
In the championship game of the 2nd annual Big "O" Winter Classic Saturday afternoon, the Bears established that their assured demeanor is no fluke after they defeated Prescott High 42-33 to snag the first-place trophy from their cross-town rival on its own court.
At the PHS Dome, Bradshaw junior swing Kylie Morris scored a game-high 15 points, including nine in the second half, and guards Kirsten Smith and Angie Banks added eight points apiece in helping to secure the win for the Bears, who now own a 15-1 overall record.
"Our teamwork shows right now," said Smith, whose squad's lone loss came at the Goodyear Desert Edge Tournament in late November. "We've all played together since we were in sixth/seventh grade, and each year we get better and better, and we get more chemistry."
Morris added that the Bears watched Prescott compete throughout the tournament just in case they ran into the Badgers in the final.
"We wanted to play them as hard as we could," she said. "This win is really going to help us in the second half of our season - just going into it strong knowing that we beat Prescott in their tournament."
Dacie Clark, another Bradshaw junior swing, aided in the effort with seven points and four rebounds. Morris and Banks also hauled in five boards apiece.
Only two Prescott players scored in double figures, including swing Autumn Childers, who netted 14 points, and forward Brette Anderson, who tallied 10 points. Anderson also yanked down eight rebounds. Point guard Kendall Peterson had seven points and seven assists.
For the second straight year, PHS finished as the runner-up in its tournament, although the club seems prepared to regroup for the second half of the 2012-13 campaign.
A prideful program, the Badgers advanced to the second round of the D-II tournament last season after reaching the state semifinals in the former Class 4A, Division I in 2009-10 and 2010-11 under coach Melissa Townsend.
This season, a fundamentally sound Bradshaw Mountain team would like nothing better than to replicate a Prescott-like feat with a state semi run of its own.
The Bears headed into the two-day Winter Classic on Friday with a No. 4 ranking in the D-II power points standings (7-0 power record), while Prescott stood at No. 24 (6-2 power, 13-4 overall).
To reach the tournament championship, BMHS and Prescott both compiled 4-0 records in the pool play round. Bradshaw finished with a 5-0 mark. Prescott was 4-1.
Relying exclusively on six well-conditioned players, Bradshaw clamped down defensively in this tournament behind an effective mix of man-to-man, zone and full-court packages.
No opponent scored more than 33 points on the Bears, and it was a direct reflection of second-year coach Efren Badilla's commitment to that crucial part of the game.
Prescott committed 15 turnovers against the Bears and didn't really begin to find a rhythm offensively until the last five minutes of regulation. PHS shot 27 percent from the field, while Bradshaw converted 55 percent of its shots.
"They looked composed the whole time and we looked frazzled and out of control the whole time," Townsend said.
Childers said it took too long for Prescott to figure out how to break Bradshaw's press. By the time it did, it was too late.
"We were kind of rushing things in the beginning, and we kind of got overwhelmed because the teams we've been playing in this tournament have been pressing us and we've been breaking it pretty easy," Childers said.
All you had to do was look at Bradshaw's scores in this tourney to understand its defense's intensity. The Bears defeated Phoenix Paradise Valley, 40-15; Tempe Corona del Sol, 45-33; and Tucson Sabino, 32-15, on Friday. They then moved on to rock Glendale Copper Canyon, 54-31, on Saturday to win Pool No. 1.
"Our defense has a lot to do with communication, and a lot of help-side defense," Smith said. "That's what helped us get to the top."
Prescott has been solid on defense, too, and its tournament scores reflect that fact.
The Badgers beat Goodyear Desert Edge, 37-22, and Phoenix North Canyon, 38-16, on Friday. They played two more pool games on Saturday morning, roughing up Glendale Kellis, 45-32, and Phoenix O'Connor, 45-26. Bradshaw's 42 points on PHS were the most the Badgers surrendered in the Winter Classic.
Despite the Bears capturing the tournament trophy, both Prescott and Bradshaw know that this rivalry is only beginning to heat up. The teams meet two more times this season - Jan. 11 at PHS and Jan. 18 at Bradshaw Mountain in Prescott Valley.
Those two regular-season games will be more important because they count toward the power points rankings, whereas in-season tournament contests do not.
"I told the girls that this (loss) needs to fuel you, because it hurts to lose in your own gym and to lose your tournament," Townsend said. "I want them to remember this. It hurts our heart and our pride, but it doesn't hurt our standing."
Prescott returns to the hardwood Friday at Camp Verde. Tip-off is 7 p.m. Bradshaw won't hit the floor again until 7 p.m. Jan. 7 at Sedona Red Rock.