Eagle Point’s varsity girls basketball team participated in the Phoenix Invitational Tournament Dec. 15 through Dec. 17. This three-day competition was a learning experience for the Eagles. Accompanied by some members of the JV team, Eagle Point faced off, and lost, against the Phoenix High School Pirates (15 – 42), the Sisters High School Outlaws (36 – 38), and the St. Mary’s High School Crusaders (32 – 48).
The Eagles were the only team in the tournament with no seniors; and, out of the teams competing against Eagle Point, only St. Mary’s had an equal amount of freshmen at the varsity level. Head coach Paul Bell reported that during the second half of their game against Phoenix, all five Eagles on the court were freshmen. Bell explained this decision was his reaction to the unenthusiastic performance from his more experienced athletes in the first half. “If we’re going to get beat, we’re going to get beat playing hard,” Bell said.
On Friday, the Eagles showed much more energy and determination in their second and closest matchup against Sisters. Some feisty defense kept the Outlaws to a mere 10 points for the whole second half, while the Eagles put up 21 points in the third and fourth quarters. Top Eagle Point scorers for this game were Casie Johnson with 8 points, Sydney May with 8 points, Megan Cowden with 9 points and freshman Alexia Hall with 11 points. Casie Johnson sunk an impressive buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter from a good distance outside the three-point line. With only a two-point spread at the game’s end, the Eagles could have taken this one away from the Outlaws were it not for what coach Bell called “young mistakes.” But, coach Bell also mentioned that he was “happy with the effort” given by his athletes in the second game.
Saturday’s game against the St. Mary’s Crusaders saw the same level of intensity from the Eagles, but without enough focus. Vanessa Pena and Cowden were aggressive on defense, each picking the ball away from more than one of the Crusaders. Hall drove up the lane several times to great success at the free-throw line. But, there were also some missed layups on crucial fast breaks that would have kept or gained the lead for the Eagles. Coach Bell was unavailable for comment after this third game of the tournament.
The varsity girls travel to Summit High School on Tuesday, Dec. 20. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. Their next home game is on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 5:30 p.m.
By Michael Stephens
For the Independent