2/16/2013 9:01:00 AM 30 straight wins! Bradshaw basketball ladies 3 wins away from state title
Bradshaw Mountainís Kirsten Smith completes a lay-up during the Lady Bears state playoff game against Notre Dame in Prescott Valley Friday night.
Trib Photo/Cheryl Hartz
Bradshaw Mountainís Lady Bears react to exuberant fans coming to congratulate them on their state playoff victory over Notre Dame in Prescott Valley Friday night. It was the teamís 30th straight win.
Trib Photo/Cheryl Hartz
The Bradshaw Mountain Lady Bears basketball team won its 30th straight game with a post season 47-43 victory over the Notre Dame Saints Feb. 15, 2013, in the Division II state tournament in Prescott Valley. The Lady Bears' dream season ended last night in the quarterfinals at Jobing.com arena in Gendale, when the Scottsdale Saguaro Sabrecats edged them 41-40, despite a 24-point effort from Kylie Morris. Photos by Cheryl Hartz.
Boosted in part by a vivacious partisan crowd that resembled a sea of red, the Division 2 No. 1-ranked Bradshaw Mountain girls' basketball team eked out its 30th straight victory Friday - on the Arizona high school ranks' grandest stage.
In a Div. 2 state tournament second-round rematch from a year ago in the same gym, Bradshaw once again got the better of Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep in a barnburner, winning 47-43 to advance to the quarterfinals.
BMHS now needs only three more victories to capture the program's first-ever state championship trophy and complete its phenomenal run.
"They always find a way (to win)," Bears coach Efren Badilla said of his girls. "I tell them to use this as a learning experience, because all this is doing is preparing us for the next one. When we make our mistakes, we just keep coming. There's no giving up in us."
On Friday, Bears swing Kylie Morris scored a team-high 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while co-captain Angie Banks poured in 13 points. Morris and Banks each netted six crucial points in a nail-biting fourth period.
With Bradshaw leading only 43-41 inside of a half-minute left, Banks scored in the lane and later drained two free throws with 20.2 seconds to go that sealed the win.
"We stayed together as a team. We communicated," said Banks, who lately has been playing with a sprained left wrist. "When Notre Dame started to lose it a little bit mentally, we started to pick it up mentally."
With NDP trailing 47-41, Saints star guard Monica Turley, who buried a game-high 22 points, hit a shot with 5 seconds remaining, but it wasn't quite enough for the visitors. Two Notre Dame starters fouled out within four minutes of each other in the fourth, and that seemed to hurt the club.
BMHS post Dacie Clark, who was nursing an injured left ankle suffered during last week's sectionals tournament, also came up big in the clutch, tallying nine points and nine rebounds.
But it was Bradshaw's stifling man-to-man and zone pressure defenses that shined brightest, forcing the Saints into 29 turnovers.
"We forced some things and had some turnovers, which, for the most part, is uncharacteristic of our girls," said Saints coach Andy Kiltz, whose team believed it could upset Bradshaw.
BMHS guard Kirsten Smith registered nine steals, as she kept the Bears in the game on an off-shooting night. Smith finished with seven points, five assists and three boards.
"If we didn't have the defense we did, we probably wouldn't have won this game," Smith said. "Anticipating the ball was a big key for us tonight, and getting those steals off the top (of the key)."
Earlier this week, Bradshaw's players encouraged their fans to wear all-red attire for a "red-out" - and the students and parents didn't disappoint, packing a majority of the stands on both sides.
The top-seeded Bears, whose school's primary colors are red and black, entered the 2013 postseason on a phenomenal 29-game winning streak.
Last Feb. 17, then-No. 4 Bradshaw rallied from 12 points down in the fourth quarter to sink the pesky Saints, 47-45, in overtime.
Although Friday's contest didn't go into an extra session, similar heroics came into play for the Bears on this evening against a 16th-seeded NDP squad that finished the season with a 19-9 overall record.
Knotted 19-19 at halftime, Bradshaw took a 29-27 third period lead.
The Bears kept Notre Dame scoreless through the first 2-1/2 minutes of the fourth, snaring a 34-27 edge on the strength of buckets from Clark and Banks. About a minute later, BMHS grew its advantage to 39-30 on a Morris steal and lay-in.
But the Saints weren't done. They eventually got as close as two points of a tie inside of a minute remaining, down 43-41 after a steal and made bucket from Lauren Loven. When Morris fouled out with 3:26 remaining in regulation, co-captain Banks took over.
"Kylie was a big loss, but as a team we had to pull through and play as a team without one of our main starters," Smith said. "But, obviously, we did really well together. It's amazing."
Morris said she was worried about letting down her team when she fouled out.
"It definitely hurt me inside, but I had a lot of faith in them (my teammates), and I knew they could pull through," she said.
The rest of the state tournament, including the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship, now shifts to Jobing.com Arena, 9400 W. Maryland Ave., Glendale.
Bradshaw took on No. 8 Saguaro last night after the Tribune's press time. A win would send them to the semifinals at 5:15 p.m. tomorrow with the winner of yesterday's game between No. 5 Liberty and No. 4 Thunderbird. The championship takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Admission is $10/adult, $6/student with school ID. Under 5 years old admitted free.