The SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team traveled south of the Rio Salado to challenge the number one-ranked Class 2A team, the Arizona Lutheran Academy Coyotes on Wednesday evening.
With a squad full of players returning from injuries and quarantines, Coach Alan Mitchell chose a starting lineup of senior Kathryn Dick (#35), juniors Allyson Lund (#10), Baylee Tobin (#21), Savannah Cardona (#22) and Lily Richardson (#44) to face off against a Coyotes squad comprised of some very large players.
The Eagles started off brightly, with Savannah Cardona starting the scoring with a steal and bucket on the break and Kathryn Dick driving inside for hoop and harm. Savannah Cardona also rang the register from three, while Baylee Tobin and Lily Richardson showed strength and determination to pull down rebounds in the face of significant size disadvantages. SCA found the tight rims difficult to operate in the first half, however, missing some inside opportunities as well as demonstrating uncharacteristically poor free throw shooting to finish the first quarter at a 7-8 deficit.
SCA continued to see their outside shots lip out on the tight rims in the second quarter, although Baylee Tobin and Lily Richardson’s brave drives into the maelstrom of the lane resulted in points, and Brooke Hancock (#4) entered the game to add a free throw to the score. The Coyotes, however, were comfortable in their home gym, and they extended their lead to 20-12 at halftime.
The second half was a different story, offensively. As the Eagles fed the ball to Kathryn Dick on the blocks, she demonstrated a wide array of post moves to earn buckets and free throws, pulling the ALA defense inside. With the defense tightened down into the paint, Savannah Cardona was free on the perimeter to knock down threes or fake the three and beat the recovering defenders with runners off the bounce. Most importantly, however, on defense the Eagles began to force turnovers and collect steals, led by Baylee Tobin, who both recaptured possession and scored on breakaway opportunities to bring SCA to within two points of their hosts, although ALA again reasserted themselves in the final moments to hold a 23-30 lead going into the final frame.
In the fourth quarter, the Eagles provided the Coyotes with more of what they didn’t want, which was a steady diet of Kathryn Dick in the post and runners from Savannah Cardona. Brooke Hancock, Baylee Tobin, Savannah Cardona and Kathryn Dick combined for eight second-half steals and forced seven additional turnovers, keeping the game close right up until the final minutes, when ALA again found their shooting touch and received several calls than enabled them to score from the line. Although Kathryn Dick knocked down the final minute three, it wasn’t enough to earn the win in the face of the ALA free throw parade, and the Eagles took the loss, 33-39.
Join the SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team as they host the Phoenix Christian Cougars, who currently top the 2A Metro Region, on Friday, February 12 at 5:30PM.