The SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team hosted the Rancho Solano Preparatory School Mustangs on Friday night in the Arizona 2A Conference State Tournament Play-in game.
Coach Alan Mitchell sent out a starting lineup comprised of senior Kathryn Dick (#35), juniors Baylee Tobin (#21), Savannah Cardona (#22) and Lily Richardson (#44), and sophomore Ana Faustinos for this high-stakes game to determine who would advance to the Sweet 16 of the Arizona Tournament.
The Eagles started the game in a novel formation, allowing Savannah Cardona to collect the tip and give SCA a lead they would never give up after the first ten seconds. Having taken a lead, the Coach Mitchell then deployed a half-court trap that provided weak-side and back-side pass interceptions for Baylee Tobin and Savannah Cardona, who converted takeaways into points in transition. The Eagles provided a variety of defensive looks to the Mustangs, including some full-court man that led to further changes of possession at the quick hands and aware minds of Ana Faustinos and Kathryn Dick. Meanwhile in half-court offensive operations, Savannah Cardona knocked down the trey and Baylee Tobin labored for the team with hard scores in the combat area under the basket and from the free throw line as SCA took a 12-2 advantage into the second quarter.
More trapping and more steals for Baylee Tobin, Savannah Cardona, Kathryn Dick and freshman Bree Tobin (#3) continued to disrupt the Mustangs’ attempts to set up their offense. The Eagles’ offense, on the other hand, showed growing discipline and maturity under the direction of Lily Richardson as SCA moved the ball well to find open looks in the mid-range for Ana Faustinos and Savannah Cardona, while Kathryn Dick worked inside to score from open play and at the free throw line. Freshman Ashlyn Fink (#25) and Izzy Thiessen (#30) entered the game and pressed the Rancho Solano ball handlers in the trap. Furthermore the Eagles diligence on the offensive boards led to a rich vein of offensive rebounds, particularly for junior Allyson Lund (#11), providing second-chance opportunities and more possessions to open up the Rancho Solano defense with ball movement and off-ball motion as SCA went into the locker room up 24-7.
The second half began with some outstanding individual displays, including Ana Faustinos' continuing success with mid-range jump shots and three-point shooting, Savannah Cardona wowing the crowd with her smooth Eurostep, and Kathryn Dick putting back another offensive rebound. Lily Richardson’s hard work inside was rewarded with free throws, where she began a program of perfect charity stripe operations that lasted the rest of the evening. On defense the Eagles worked on their trap and allowed the Mustangs to come to them in the third quarter, where Kathryn Dick blocked shots and swept up deflections on the backside, benefitting from the fast hands of Lily Richardson, Ana Faustinos, and Baylee Tobin as SCA led 36-19 after three.
The final period provided more excitement for the fans on defense, showcased by spectacular shot-blocking from Baylee Tobin, and additional blocked shots from Lily Richardson and freshman Julia Claus (#10). On offense Savannah Cardona, Ana Faustinos and Kathryn Dick all converted from the three-point line, while Lily Richardson concluded her perfect evening from the free throw line as the Eagles advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 47-30 victory.
Join the SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team as they journey hours southward on Wednesday, March 10 to Benson, Arizona in the Class 2A State Tournament at 5:00PM where they will face the Benson High School Bobcats.
See the State Tournament brackets at AZPreps here: https://www.azpreps365.com/brackets/basketball-girls/2a/968-2021-aia-girls-basketball-2a-state-championship