Some basketball teams talk a lot about playing as a family.
Buckeye High’s girls actually put their words into action.
The flock of high-flying Hawks opened their Buckeye Blue & Gold Tournament with victories over El Mirage Dysart and Surprise Willow Canyon on Friday (Dec. 27).
The tournament continues Saturday (Dec. 28), with the final day and championship game on Monday (Dec. 30).
“We stay together, play together as a family. It’s about having each other’s back,’’ said Buckeye coach Regina Early.
“With us, it doesn’t matter who does the scoring. It’s not about that. It’s about trying to win.’’
One of the things that Early works with her players on is keeping their composure.
“You have to try to stay under control,’’ she said. “You have to forget any frustration you might have, because you’re going to have a new play coming right at you pretty quick.’’
Buckeye has a good balance of shooting, rebounding and ball-handling.
Bailey Wirtzberger hits from long range, 6-foot-3 post player Alliesandra Fuller is a force in the middle and point guard Dallas Jones darts in and out of traffic like a sports car on the freeway.
Buckeye fans were not used to seeing their heroines wearing dark jerseys at home and being listed as the visiting team. That’s what happened against Willow Canyon.
The teams played 20-minute halves with a running clock.
Buckeye had a significant 15-point lead early in the second half and had a 13-0 burst to seal the deal.
Wirtzberger hit back-to-back 3’s and Jones connected from long range, followed by a Jones 2-pointer and a turnaround shot in the lane by Fuller.
The other teams in the tournament are Laveen Cesar Chavez, Tempe McClintock, Phoenix North Pointe Prep, Surprise Shadow Ridge and Buckeye Youngker.