Sedona Red Rock High School girls basketball head coach Dave Moncibaez had high expectations for his team entering the Prescott Lady Badgers Winter Classic.
They were met as it won its second tournament this season, securing a 54-49 win in the championship game over Cactus High School.
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“Hopefully it’s a confidence builder on our end,” head coach Dave Moncibaez said. “Obviously [expectations] were high going in; we were the smallest school in the tournament by two divisions.”
The Scorpions [14-0], who play in Division 2A, opened the tournament on Dec. 29 with a first round victory over Raymond S. Kellis High School by a score of 59-40.
In their second game, they took down host Prescott High School 67-26; in last year’s tournament final, the Scorpions lost 62-22 after having played two consecutive games beforehand.
Junior guard Liza Westervelt scored a career-high 29 points against the Badgers in what was the team’s largest margin of victory during the two-day tournament.
Moncibaez said that his team played well considering the stage of the season it is in; they opened conference play on Jan. 3 against Paradise Honors High School.
“We were moving the ball pretty well,” Moncibaez said. “Our defense was rotating and shifting how it should.”
However, with the Scorpions’ run-and-gun style of play and high-scoring offense, they still have problems with turnovers and finishing easy opportunities, something Moncibaez looks to improve heading into the
second half of the season.
“In transition we had the tendency to turn the ball over,” Moncibaez said. “We would get ahead of ourselves, get in too much of a hurry.”
In the semifinal on Dec. 30, Red Rock defeated Mountain View High School 50-38.
In the championship game, the Scorpions faced off with Division 4A Cactus, walking away victorious.
Now, Moncibaez thinks his team is ready to take on the rest of the season on the front foot.
“I think we’re ready, we need to take care of the ball, make our free throws and make good decisions,” he said.
Moncibaez highlighted the play of his two inside players, seniors Hannah Ringel and Sophia Perry, as playing vital roles, making the little plays that may not always show up on the scoresheet.
Now in 2A Central Section play, Moncibaez will maintain those high expectations.
Results from the Jan. 3 game against Paradise Honors were not available at press time. The Scorpions next play at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 5 against Mingus Mountain Academy at Sedona Red Rock High School.