The SCA Eagles welcomed the Gilbert Christian School Knights on Tuesday night in a return match of an early December game, where the 4th-ranked class 3A Knights defeated the Eagles 49-44 in a thrilling match in Gilbert. With the SCA squad looking for a win on their home court, Coach Bob Fredericks sent out seniors Jordan McDonald and Hayden Hancock, junior Kathryn Dick, and sophomores Brooke Hancock and Savannah Cardona to open the contest.
Early on the Eagles struggled to contain the larger and taller Knights, who were able to open up a lead with inside shots, but gradually SCA worked their way into the game with Jordan McDonald's three-point shooting and Kathryn Dick knocking down mid-range jumpers and setting up Brooke Hancock on the screen and slip with the first of her six assists on the night. The definite highlight of the first half was freshman Ana Faustino's buzzer-beater from three to close out the first period as SCA made it a game.
Gilbert continued to exert control in the second quarter, and Jordan McDonald kept them honest with three-point shooting while Brooke Hancock worked herself open in the paint. Senior Heather Hancock kicked off the break with important steals, and sophomore Baylee Tobin also contributed a key rebound leading to scores. The first half ended with an unpromising 20-29 SCA deficit, but the signs of fight were apparent.
In the second half, the Eagles came out with potent offense and spirited defense to cut into the Gilbert lead and eventually pull ahead behind a constant assault on the paint as Savannah Cardona lit up the three-point arc or else drew the defense to feed the low post, Jordan McDonald also strained the strings from three, and Kathryn Dick drove and fed Hayden Hancock and Brooke Hancock or knocked down the jump-stop jumper herself.
In the final quarter, the Eagles overheated the net with more of the same, as Jordan McDonald and Kathryn Dick continued to drive and dish to Hayden Hancock and Brooke Hancock. Jordan McDonald also enjoyed success driving into the paint, and she, Kathryn Dick and Daphne Garland worked the free throw line with the clock stopped as SCA drew even on almost every possession.
Down three with seconds to play, Coach Fredericks sent out the hands team of Jordan McDonald, sophomore Lily Richardson, Savannah Cardona, Brooke Hancock, and Kathryn Dick. The Eagles sliced up the Gilbert press defense for leading scorer Jordan McDonald to get off a physically-contested shot from three, but time expired without a foul call.
And so SCA was not able to top the Knights, but the exciting game full of good performances certainly satisfied the large crowd in attendance to see the 50-53 loss.
The Eagles will next journey beyond the San Carlos Reservation to southeastern Arizona to play Pima High School on a marathon Saturday, January 11 day of games featuring both JV and Varsity squads for the SCA boys and girls.