Marcos de Niza never let Bradshaw Mountain get comfortable Tuesday night in their Division II girls basketball showdown at Marcos de Niza. The Lady Padres grabbed an 11-2 lead 4 1/2 minutes into the contest and suffered little resistance from the Lady Bears in a decisive 63-46 triumph.
“They're a good basketball team,” Marcos de Niza coach Jermaine Whitaker said of the opposition from Prescott Valley who lost for only the second time in 20 games this season. “We came out ready to play and played very well. Did most things well.”
Marcos de Niza (14-3, 9-1 power-ranking games) had its offense working early both inside and from the perimeter. Guard Sophia Anaya poured in 24 points, connecting on four 3s and making 8-of-12 shots from the field for the game. She and her teammates were adept at finding Angelicah Tso in the low post in the first half. Tso responded with all 12 of her points in the opening half. Adding more trouble from the perimeter was senior guard Jorie Mayfied. Mayfield scored 15 points and made a trio of treys.
“I thought they were awesome,” Bradshaw Mountain coach Deana Hendrix said of Marcos de Niza. “They can play up-tempo, or spread the court and they have great shooters. What hurt us was not hitting our outside shots. They also sped us up some, and really outrebounded us.”
Bradshaw Mountain (18-2, 9-2 prg) has been led all season offensively by senior forward Kylie Morris. Morris averages 19 points a game, but she started slowly in the first period and was a non-factor in the second. Morris scored five points late in the first period, but drew her second foul with just over seven minutes left in the first half. Hendrix decided to sit her leading scorer with Bradshaw getting back in the game somewhat at 20-13 early in the second quarter because of the two fouls. Bradshaw Mountain trailed by as many as 15 (19-4) in the first quarter.
Morris sat after fouling Anaya on a 3-point attempt. Anaya made all three free throws to boost the lead to 23-13. The lead dipped under 10 only twice the rest of the night. Morris returned for two minutes of action in the second period, but didn't score. Marcos led 36-23 at the half.
Morris came out strong in the third period, scoring eight points. Along with teamate Kirsten Smith they managed to cut Marcos de Niza's lead to 38-30 with 5:49 left in the quarter. A 13-0 run oer the next three minutes was the death knell for Bradshaw Mountain.The teams were almost even in the turnover department, but four or five Bradshaw Mountain miscues ended up easy baskets for Marcos, mostly off the Lady Padres' full-court press. Smith led Bradshaw Mountain with 14 points, Morris added 13 and center Dacie Clark chipped in with 12.
“We watched (Morris) in pregame and knew she was a good player,” Whitaker said. “We had Kaelin (Shaffer) guard her and she did a pretty good job of denying her the ball. I think we played well at both ends of the floor.”
Marcos de Niza has lost three games to Division I opponents from Arizona (two to Desert Vista and one to Pinnacle). The other was in the Nike TOC bracket title game against Castle View High from Castle Rock, Colo. Bradshaw Mountain's only loss prior to Tuesday came against Arizona Division I foe Liberty.