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The Big Park girls basketball A team won the inaugural Tri-City tournament at Sedona Red Rock High School on the weekend of Nov. 16 and 17.


Coyotes point guard Liza Westervelt dribbles between two defenders during Big Park's game against Granite Mountain Middle School at the Tri-City tournament Nov. 17.The Coyotes went 4-0 in the tournament, besting Mayer, 43-8 and Beaver Creek, 39-6 in the opening round before victories over Cottonwood Middle School 39-6 and Prescott Granite Mountain 38-4 for the championship.


Eighth graders Nikki Zielinski and Liza Westervelt were named to the all-tournament team and Westervelt was named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.


After having gone 17-1 last season and winning their league, only to lose in the small school state-championship game by one point at the buzzer, the Coyotes have rededicated themselves to winning another league championship this season.


“If we compete the way we always do, we should be right in the thick of it,” said Coyotes head coach Kirk Westervelt. “I don’t believe in putting high expectations [on the girls] and then if they don’t get it they think they’ve failed. I want them to just go out there and have fun.”


Liza Westervelt is the point guard for the team, and Kirk Westervelt said she’s pretty hard to stop.


“Generally, if you have a good point guard you can run the table at this level,” he said. “And I have probably the best point guard in the league.”


The Coyotes also have Zielinski, a wing/forward hybrid who Westervelt called “my toughest defender by far,” and the team also has two outstanding post players in Alyssa Lewis and Ally Alver.


Westervelt’s younger daughter, sixth-grader Mary Westervelt, started at the point guard in the Tri-City tournament.


“She’s a player; she plays good defense,” he said. “We did a 1-3-1 trap, three-quarter court press, and she was the point.


“I’ve had some compliments from ... retired coaches, and they said we were the most fundamentally sound girls team they’d ever seen.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Nov. 27, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.


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