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For the first time in school history the Sedona Red Rock High girls basketball team claimed the 3A-West region title, clinching it by defeating River Valley High on Thursday, Feb. 12, by the final score of 53-44.

“I think these girls have a lot to be proud of. We accomplished our goal of winning a regional title,” second year head coach John Cunningham said.

Setting goals is one thing and accomplishing them is another.

Scorpion players boarded the big purple bus early Thursday morning in preparation for the four-hour bus ride which was ahead of them.

River Valley, a high school just outside of Laughlin, Nev., gave Sedona everything they wanted and more Thursday.

Back on Jan. 9, Sedona beat the Dust Devils 69-38, but this time around, River Valley wasn’t going anywhere.

The Scorpions took a few quick steals from the Dust Devils and put them in for layups, and at the end of the first quarter, Sedona was ahead 14-9.

River Valley fought back, however, and with nothing to lose, the Dust Devils outscored Sedona 15-11 to trail only by one at halftime, 25-24.

“We had a few good looks early, but they didn’t find the bottom of the net,” Cunningham said.

Sedona came out of the locker room in the third quarter and pushed back physically, outscoring River Valley 14-10 to take a 39-34 lead at the end of three.

Junior forward Katie Adams, as always, was right in the middle of this one, with a game high 20 points while pulling down 10 rebounds and playing solid defense.

Dynamic duo partner in point guard Breanne Cunningham had a solid game as well, distributing the ball with five assists on the night while recording nine steals and adding nine points.

Junior guard Ashley Lo Duca, who has come on strong in recent weeks, added 13 points of her own to the victory.

The trio teamed up to outscore River Valley 14-10 again in the fourth quarter and went on to win, 53-44.

Unable to hold themselves back, Scorpion players jumped for joy like they were doing pre-season workouts in the weight room, hugging each other with tears and red faces as the goal was achieved, a region title.

In the 13 years of girls basketball in Sedona, no team has ever won the region title outright.

The 2000-2001 group managed to claim a co-championship with Orme High back when the Scorpions played in the 2A-Canyon region.

The same group went on to win the regional tournament before heading into the state playoffs.

A region tournament is no longer a part of the 3A-West region in which the Scorpions play, which puts so much more emphasis on the regular season title.

“The girls worked hard all year, and we had our ups and downs, but in the end, we are on top,” Cunningham said.

With the Scorpions taking the weekend to celebrate their region title, a new foe has peeked their head over the distant mountain as the 3A state playoffs are set to begin this Friday, Feb. 20.

As a No. 9 seed in the state tournament, Sedona will travel to No. 8 Window Rock High on Friday with a scheduled tip-off time of 7 p.m.

If the Scorpions manage to win that game Friday, they will likely play at No. 1 Winslow High on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m.

For now, the 19-7 overall record and an 11-1 record in the 3A-West region means a lot to Sedona, but come tournament time, those numbers will go out the door.

“We have just as good a shot as anyone else,” Cunningham said.

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