Sedona Red Rock High School’s boys basketball team recovered from a slow start, using its defensive pressure to fuel a 30-point third quarter and a 67-49 road win at Camp Verde High School on Friday, Jan. 26.
Camp Verde [7-9, 2-4 Central Region] started off on the front foot, going up 12-6 after the first quarter and 23-19 at halftime. But the Scorpions [9-3, 4-2] responded in the second half, taking a solid lead after three quarters before some sparks flew in the final frame.
“They played with intensity in the second half. In the first half they don’t,” Scorpions head coach Paul Bain said. “There’s a level of intensity that they play at where they focus, they concentrate, they really get into it, and then there’s a mode where they go into where they just float .... They just let up and they kind of observe, they kind of watch the action if they’re not actually in it, and that’s the first half.”
The Scorpions have won six of their nine games since the turn of the year, and this year’s senior class improved to 6-0 all-time against the Cowboys.
“A little disappointing because we played very poorly. We have to play better than that to have a chance of going anywhere in the [state] tournament,” senior guard Michael Ortega said. “It’s always kind of bittersweet to walk out of a gym you’ve been playing in for four years against people you know and people you enjoy competing against. It’s good to get the ‘W’ though.”
Cowboys and Scorpions boys teams warming up. pic.twitter.com/xWPFKv9es6— Daniel Hargis (@d_harg) January 27, 2018
Red Rock junior guard Evan Favorite opened the scoring on a fast break layup, but the Cowboys immediately tied the score in a quarter that featured a number of missed shots and turnovers for both teams. Scorpions freshman guard Carlos Parra-Landaverde, who had been sidelined recovering from a knee injury, checked in with just more than a minute left to mark his high school debut.
In the second quarter, Red Rock senior forward Winston Cox followed Ortega’s three-pointer with a fast break dunk, but Camp Verde responded with a 9-3 run to go up 23-13, its largest lead on the night.
“Lack of focus; we took this game lightly, we prepared for it lightly. We had a couple good practices during the week but not [Thursday, Jan. 25], and I feel like the momentum of that kind of carried over to today, and we didn’t play very well to start out,” Ortega said.
Scorpions senior guard Hayden Bruce halted the run with back-to-back triples to reach the halftime score.
Part of the Cowboys’ success was their ability to navigate the opposing defense and hit open shots. Things changed in the third quarter as they committed at least 10 turnovers and were outscored 30-12.
“[Bain] told us that as a collective we were not focused, and that our lack of preparation was coming back to haunt us and that it was time to kick it into gear right now and prove that even though there is adversity, and there shouldn’t be, that we can still come out [victorious] on the other side,” Ortega said.
Red Rock broke off a 23-2 scoring run during the quarter, including a three-basket stretch coming directly from turnovers. Scorpions senior guard Wyatt Gregson tied the game at 25 early in the run, Cowboys sophomore guard Abe Gonzalez answered back with a three, but later Gregson rattled off seven points in a row to end the scoring run.
Camp Verde pulled to within 10 in the fourth quarter, before Gregson and Gonzalez were involved in a confrontation that resulted in Cowboys rising sophomore guard Jason Collier’s ejection for leaving the bench and free throws for the Scorpions. It killed the momentum while adding points on the board for Red Rock, which saw out the victory to remain in second place in the region.
The Scorpions traveled to Wickenburg High School, getting a 68-61 win on Saturday, Jan. 27. They resumed region play on senior night, Tuesday, Jan. 30, against Northland Preparatory Academy, winning 64-35. Next up they travel to Phoenix Christian High School for a 6 p.m. tip on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
Note: This story was updated on Wednesday, Jan. 31, to include the score from the Northland Prep game and region standings after Tuesday night's games.
|Central Region Standings|