A tight game in the third quarter swung Basha's way against Amador Valley (Pleasonton, Calif.) on Thursday morning in the first round of the the Nike Tournament of Champions in Chandler.
Basha sank two free throws and added a three-point field goal after a technical foul on Amador Valley that gave the Lady Bears space they used to post a 54-49 victory at Arizona College Preparatory.
Basha improved to 4-2 for the year and advanced to the semifinals of the Green Division — one of 11 divisions in the 84-team event. Basha faces the Cherry Creek (Greenwood, Village, Colo)-Tolleson winner on Friday (Dec. 20) at 7 p.m. at Arizona College Prep. Amador Valley dropped to 4-2.
In a nip-and-tuck contest the entire first half and first couple minutes of the third period, Basha led 24-22. Amador Valley had possession under its own basket, but Amador Valley coach Augie Valdez was assessed a technical foul. That gave Basha free throws that Christine Orr sank (two of her game-high 21 points) and possession. A few seconds later Jacey Kitamura made the first three by either team to extend the lead to 29-22, the biggest of the day. Later in the quarter Basha's lead reached 36-23 and the Lady Bears led 39-30 after three periods.
“That was the turning point,” Basha coach Rich Meseroll said referring to the technical and how Basha took advantage.. “We started hitting some outside shots, and took better care of the ball for the most part.”
Basha appeared ready to coast home with a 50-40 lead with one minute left, but Amador Valley connected on three threes (two by Hailey Wesenberg and one by Ariah Mack) to cut the margin to 52-49 with less than 10 seconds left. Orr was fouled and made both ends of a one-and-one with 2.8 seconds left to seal the outcome.Basha got 16 points from Haley Pryor and 10 from Kitamura. Pryor did all her scoring inside or with defense that helped earn her short shots or layups. Kitamura made two threes in the third quarter and Orr sank one from beyond the arc in the final period as Basha's lead reached 48-37 with Pryor and Orr doing most of the damage with four minutes left.
Amador Valley got 19 points from Mack, 13 from Wesenberg and 12 from forward Courtney Seams.
In other first-round games Thursday (Dec.19) involving Arizona schools, Chandler beat St. Francis (Sacramento, Calif), 57-45 (Black Division); Miramounte (Orinda, Calif.) knocked off Westview, 75-66 (Mike Desper Division) and Pueblo County, Colo. took down St. Mary's, 55-40 (Silver Division); South Mountani defeated Warren (Downey Calif.), 66-55 (Black Division); and West Campus, (Sacramento, Calif.) beat Red Mountaiin, 41-27 (Red Division).