The road trip continued for Sedona Red Rock High School’s basketball teams.
After traveling south to Paradise Honors High School on Jan. 2, the Scorpions hoopsters headed west to 3A Chino Valley High School. Both teams came away with victories by more than 10 points: The girls won 60-36 and the boys 53-37.
The boys team [4-2, 0-1 Central] was not done yet, as it traveled even farther south, this time to Talking Stick Resort Arena on Saturday, Jan. 6. In the home of the NBA Phoenix Suns, Red Rock took on 4A Prescott High School, falling 55-53. It was the team’s second loss in three games after finishing the year with a pair of wins.
“We should’ve won by 16 on Saturday,” Scorpions head coach Paul Bain said. “We can’t handle pressure; we the turn the ball over.”
Pressure and turnovers have equaled losses on the schedule, most obviously in the 74-40 loss to Paradise Honors. The No. 15-ranked Scorpions turned the ball over 29 times in that game.
After that lopsided defeat on Jan. 2, the team immediately addressed the issue. It knows that from here on out, every team is likely to bring pressure across the whole court.
“We’ve got to learn how to handle pressure,” Bain said. “[At practice] on Wednesday [Jan. 3] we went to our own three-quarter-court pressure. The only way to get better against pressure is to pressure ourselves at practice.
“... Hopefully we can turn it around. We’re certainly emphasizing it.”
Turnovers were costly again against Prescott, as the team “turned it over a lot in the fourth quarter” en route to the loss. At the Red Rock Hoops Classic on Dec. 1, the Scorpions defeated the Badgers 43-37, albeit in a game played in two 20-minute halves rather than the typical four eight-minute quarters.
The always up-front and frank Bain added that a lack of competitive games during this winter break kept the team from improving while teams like Prescott and Paradise Honors did.
Last season, the team won the Joy Christian School Winter Start Tournament before ending in a three-way tie for first in the Central Region with a 5-3 record, ultimately finishing third after tiebreakers.
“We have the talent to beat [Paradise Honors],” Bain said. “But not if we’re playing undisciplined, and as a team we’re not there yet. These things can come together quickly.”
The bright spots in recent games have been from senior forward Winston Cox, senior guard Hayden Bruce and junior guard Evan Favorite, Bain said. Freshman guard Micha Johnson has made the most of his minutes, too.
Ultimately, Bain said all five players on the floor committing to team defense will be what rights the ship as the Scorpions dive head-first into the region schedule.
They returned home on Tuesday, Jan. 10, taking on Verde Valley rival Camp Verde High School, but results were unavailable at press time.
Win Streak Rolls On
The girls team [5-0, 1-0 Central], ranked No. 3 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Conference 2A poll, cruised to a 60-36 win against Chino Valley on Jan. 5. Four players scored in double digits: Senior guard Jo Toscano , sophomore forward Mary Westervelt , senior guard Liza Westervelt  and sophomore forward Jacki King .
The win opened a four-game winning streak for the Scorpions since falling in the championship game of the Red Rock Hoops Classic to 5A Betty H. Fairfax High School by a score of 47-41 on Dec. 2.
In an effort preserve the team’s health, it also did not participate in a holiday season tournament. After the 55-25 win at Paradise Honors, it was acknowledged that the team’s legs were a little heavy.
“The whole thing is staying healthy, that’s the biggest concern,” Red Rock head coach Dave Moncibaez said. “We would like to have all of the girls healthy so we can be where we need to be competitively at full force.”
Last season, Red Rock swept the Verde Valley rivalry against Camp Verde. The matchup resumed as the Scorpions also welcomed the No. 6 Cowboys on Tuesday, Jan. 10, for their first big test in the Central Region.
The Central Region appears to be the toughest in 2A so far this season, with four teams ranked in the top 10 of the 2A poll. Apart from the No. 3 Scorpions and No. 6 Cowboys, Glendale Preparatory Academy is No. 8 and Paradise Honors is No. 9. No other region has more than two in the top 10.
Results for both teams can be found in the Friday, Jan. 12, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.
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