|Coyotes claim small schools title|
|Written by Brian Bergner Jr.|
|Thursday, 02 February 2012 00:00|
Despite losing the coin toss and earning the No. 2 seed, the Big Park Community School girls basketball team claimed the Verde Valley Athletic Association Small Schools title Saturday, Jan. 28, defeating the rival Cowboys, 20-15.
“The girls were very calm and collected throughout the tournament. It was incredible to watch them play, because they didn’t get ruffled when they could have and just played through it,” Big Park Head Coach Amy Parrella said.
Big Park finished the 2011-2012 regular season with a 10-1 overall record, having only lost to the Camp Verde Middle School Cowboys in a three-overtime thriller Jan. 10, 31-30.
The loss came back to haunt the Coyotes on Jan. 25, when the local middle school athletic directors used a coin toss to determine the No. 1 seed.
Camp Verde and Big Park were tied atop the standings, having beaten each other one time each. Big Park beat the Cowboys on Dec. 1, 38-23.
The coin toss went in Camp Verde’s favor, and it was awarded the No. 1 seed while Big Park was given No. 2.
At Clarkdale-Jerome School on Friday, Big Park needed to get past cross-valley rival West Sedona School and did so, winning 51-1.
In the tournament semifinals Saturday, Beaver Creek School gave the Coyotes all the trouble they could handle, but Big Park came out on top, 24-20.
“They really gave us problems, and we were only up by like one at halftime, and I kind of started freaking out a bit because we weren’t playing all that well. Then we stepped up and were able to get the win,” Parrella said.
In the rubber match with Camp Verde on Saturday, the two locked horns again for the title.
Eighth-grader Annie Parrella led the Coyotes in the championship with 10 points while pulling four rebounds and adding two assists and two steals to her stat line.
Big Park jumped out to a 10-2 lead after the first quarter and led 14-6 at halftime before the Cowboys went on a 9-2 run in the third quarter to trail by one after three, 16-15.
The Coyotes defense locked down Camp Verde in the final six minutes of play, and Big Park added two buckets to go on and win, 20-15.
“I think the best thing about this last weekend was these girls played their game. They didn’t let anyone get in the way of doing what they were supposed to do, and that was fun to watch,” Amy Parrella said.
Other standouts against Camp Verde on Saturday included seventh-grader Sophia Perry, who scored six points and pulled three rebounds, while eighth-grader Ashley Sutherland had nine rebounds and two steals.
Sixth-grader Liza Westervelt chipped in as well, scoring two points while recording seven steals and four rebounds in the win.
With the tournament championship under their belts, the Coyotes improve their overall record to 13-1 on the season.
Next up, Big Park will participate in the Small Schools State Tournament, which is held at Clarkdale-Jerome from Thursday, Feb. 2, through Saturday, Feb. 4. Big Park’s first-round opponent in the state tournament has yet to be released.