The SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team traveled fifteen minutes south into the Biltmore for a regular-season, title-deciding showdown with rivals the Phoenix Country Day School Eagles on Tuesday evening in a game to determine the Arizona 2A Metro Region championship of the 2021.
Coach Alan Mitchell sent out a starting lineup comprised of senior Kathryn Dick (#35) and juniors Brooke Hancock (#4), Baylee Tobin (#21), Savannah Cardona (#22) and Lily Richardson (#44) for this key game.
Savannah Cardona opened the scoring in her traditional fashion on a catch and shoot three from good perimeter ball movement, then found Baylee Tobin who converted from the power slot as SCA worked patiently in the half-court offense. Baylee Tobin also continued her paint protection with an authoritative shot block and a clean steal, leading the way on defense. After a brief lull on offense with some good looks that wouldn’t fall, Kathryn Dick powered through the lane for two and then converted from three-point land as the quarter ended with SCA up 10-8.
In the second period SCA misplaced their scoring touch while still moving the ball well on offense and getting good looks, but also facing a more aggressive PCDS defense and turning the ball over on adventurous passing. Junior Allyson Lund (#10) demonstrated how to collect offensive rebounds, Kathryn Dick’s chase-down block on defense gave SCA a lift, and Savannah Cardona worked her way free for three immediately thereafter, followed up by Lily Richardson’s jump shot from the short corner. PCDS had found their range, however, so that at half-time SCA trailed 15-17.
Both sides made tactical adjustments to begin the second half. PCDS unleashed a motion offense and a barrage of threes, while SCA increased the pace of the game and unleashed Brooke Hancock, the 2019-2020 Offensive Player of the Year in the 2A Metro Region. Brooke Hancock commenced an extended assault on the offensive boards, scoring put-backs from both sides of the key, and Baylee Tobin and Kathryn Dick both fed her in the high-low game for layups. Coach Mitchell turned up the wick in transition, and SCA began to run defensive rebounds back at PCDS with increased velocity, using up the hosts’ energy and providing Brooke Hancock opportunities to demonstrate her speed to finish on the other end. Savannah Cardona capped off the quarter with another trey, and the third quarter concluded with the scores knotted at 30.
Coach Mitchell’s strategy of forcing the game into a higher tempo paid dividends in the final quarter, as tired PCDS ball handlers were picked clean by Savannah Cardona and Baylee Tobin. Sophomore Ana Faustinos (#32) frustrated her opposite number with lock-down defense and screen-busting movement on the perimeter. Brooke Hancock out-hustled her opponents for offensive rebounds, Baylee Tobin out-ran the pack to finish in transition, and Kathryn Dick forced her tiring defenders to move their feet with a variety of fakes and moves in the mid-post for buckets and fouls inside. With Country Day running low on energy and SCA applying significant defensive pressure, Kathryn Dick and Ana Faustinos were perfect from the free throw line in the final moments, allowing SCA to ease home with a clear 40-30 victory.
Join the SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team as they begin their campaign in the Arizona Class 2A State Tournament this Friday where they will host the Rancho Solano Prep Mustangs at 7:00PM on March 5 at Scottsdale Christian Academy.
See the tournament brackets beginning March 10 at AZPreps here: https://www.azpreps365.com/brackets/basketball-girls/2a/968-2021-aia-girls-basketball-2a-state-championship