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Sedona Red Rock High School’s boys basketball team extended its winning streak to seven games with a 70-49 win against Camp Verde High School in the Central Region tournament semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

After having a strong defensive effort in a 77-51 win over Page High School on Saturday, Feb. 3, the Scorpions [13-3, 6-2] were a little slower out the gate, but held the Cowboys [8-10, 3-5] to under 20 points in the first half. They now move on to the region tournament championship game at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, at No. 2 Paradise Honors High School.

 

“It was our pressure defense, we just turned them over,” Red Rock head coach Paul Bain said. “We were just sluggish. We just came off Page and playing that well and beating them and we had already beaten [Camp Verde] a couple times.”

Red Rock, No. 7 in the 2A rank- ings as of press time, began to wear Camp Verde out near the end of the first quarter, picking up the pace and carrying it through the rest of the game. Bain signaled the play of senior forward Michael Ortega at the defensive end as being the best on the floor.

“The pressure sometimes they handle it better the first quarter but we’re kind of relentless with it and it eventually with certain teams is going to wear them down,” Bain said. “Mike’s defense was at a level where we need it to be if we’re going to advance in the state tournament.”

Offensively, Bain said both senior forward Winston Cox and senior guard Wyatt Gregson played at a high level and with efficiency.

Last year the team did not have to play a region tournament after the regular season. The extra games before the start of the Arizona Interscholastic Association Conference 2A state tourna- ment are welcomed extra preparation. Today’s championship game will not have impact seeding, Bain said, but is more for bragging rights.

Paradise Honors, which finished the year undefeated at 18-0, handed the Scorpions’ their only region losses: 74-40 on Jan. 2 and 64-57 on Jan. 19. It beat Northland Preparatory Academy in the other semifinal 78-44.

“We’re going down there to win, that’s our mentality is that we can beat anybody. And they’re going to have to step up. They’re going to be certainly not taking this lightly or as lightly as they did,” Bain said. “Look, we’re going to apply pressure for the whole 32 minutes and we’ll just see whether they can handle that. They’re going to pres- sure us too, it should be a good game.”

“We’re going down there to get better and to beat them,” Bain continued.

Red Rock ended the regular season ona high note against Page. It led 49-19 at halftime behind strong defense. Gregson led all scorers in that game with 23 points.

“We are playing hard and now we have to be able to play hard and smart,” Bain said after that game. “To play hard is not enough .... I think our shot selection was excellent, I don’t think we took a bad shot in the third quarter. Turnovers are always going to be an issue for us. Can we play better? Yes we can, we can play a lot better and the reality is that we’re going to have to if we want to do well in the tournament. It was a great way to end the regular season, they played hard and they played well together tonight.”

The state tournament brackets will be released on Sunday, Feb. 11, on azpreps365.com The first round of the 2A tournament is on Friday, Jan. 16, in the Prescott area.

Girls Storm Past Griffins

The No. 1-ranked girls basketball team [17-0, 10-0] beat Glendale Preparatory Academy 51-34 in the semifinal of the region tournament. It hosts No. 7 Camp Verde at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9. The Scorpions are poised to receive the No. 1 overall seed in the 2A state tournament.

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