It is often said it hoops circles that basketball is a game of runs. In Saturday’s Region 6-AAA Championship contest, it was a game of one big run, and that run led the way to a third straight region title for the Sonoraville Lady Phoenix.
Facing a 17-12 deficit after one quarter, Sonoraville took control of the game by outscoring Coahulla Creek 19-0 in the second quarter and then extended the momentum into the third for a 30-0 run altogether that set the tone for a convincing 73-40 victory to claim the 6-AAA title on their home court on Saturday night.
“This is one of those games that just a blur for me…we were down after the first quarter, and I remember us pulling even early in the second but then you look up and it’s a 14 or 15-point lead in just short amount of time,” said Sonoraville head coach Stephanie Caudell. “We were certainly on a roll offensively, but defensively this was the best we’ve played all year as a team. We’ve had some individual defensive efforts that were great at times this year, but this was the most consistent effort we’ve given as a team for 32 minutes. I mean a 30-0 run and how well we played in the third quarter especially…it was something to watch.”
The Lady Phoenix (21-4) led 31-17 at the half following the dominant second quarter, but they didn’t let up one bit coming out of the locker room at half, scoring 11 quick points, including three 3-pointers, to immediately extend the lead to 42-17, complete the 30-0 run and all but erase any chance of a Coahulla Creek comeback.
In all, Sonoraville made seven 3s in the third quarter alone and outscored the Lady Colts (21-4) 26-12 in the period to ice the game and send the home crowd into a celebratory mood in the fourth quarter.
“That kind of shooting really drives us,” said Sonoraville senior Alexa Geary. “When we see it go through the net (like that third quarter), it really drives us and gets everyone up no matter who makes the shot. It gets everyone pumped up and makes us so much more exciting on the defensive end because we know if we get a stop, we’re going to go back down and keep that kind of shooting going.”
Geary was the top scorer in the championship victory with a game-high 18 points for the Lady Phoenix, including playing a part in the onslaught in the third quarter with two of the team’s seven 3s. Lindsay Bowman and Abby Chambers, two more of Sonoraville’s talented and accomplished senior class, had big games as well with 16 points each. Bowman made five 3s in the contest with three coming in the third quarter, and Chambers knocked down four 3s of her own with a pair of those coming in the third.
“I’m very proud of Alexa,” said Caudell. “She came out on a mission tonight after having a tougher time last night (against Ringgold). And Lindsay and Abby, they just had no fear stepping into shots and knocking them down tonight. When they get going from outside, they have no reason to be hesitant taking those shots, and they weren’t at all tonight especially in that third quarter.
“We got great contributions from everyone tonight. Matti (Parker) attacked the basket and played well, and Kinsley (Long) and Diana (Smith) were really good inside guarding the Richards girl for Coahulla Creek and scoring too. Those two really stepped up.”
Smith contributed eight points off the bench for the Lady Phoenix following early foul trouble for Long. Long added six points of her own in limited time as well.
Katelyn Richards was the lone Coahulla Creek player to reach double figures with 11 points as she scored seven of those in the first quarter to play a big part in the Lady Colts’ lead at the end of that period. Ema Turner added eight, and Brinkley Reed and Jillian Poe each scored six.
With the win, the Lady Phoenix sit atop their region with the championship trophy for the third straight year. Caudell said it was great to see her senior class win another region title, and it made it even more special for them to do it on their home court in front of their loud and passionate fan base.
“For those eight seniors to win it on their home floor is very special,” said Caudell. “They deserve that. We earned the right to host the tournament here with what we did in the regular season, and the girls took care of business these last two nights to finish it off with a region title. Our seniors are amazing. Lindsay, Abby and Alexa put so much of their lives into playing basketball and putting in the work to have moments like this. Matti too. All of them work so hard, and they were amazing tonight. Words can’t describe seeing them play as well as they did tonight and win another region title.”
“We’ve been dreaming of coming out here and winning a region title on our home court,” added Geary. “Ever since we lost in the region finals here as freshmen, we had that redemption on our mind. And it means so much more being here because we have the best fans and support ever. It’s so amazing to play on your home court in a region title game, and we were proud to do it for our home crowd…for all the people that were here and the people we’ve lost this past year.”
“Everyone stepped up tonight,” added Bowman. “We always just focus on the next play and play our game. We were focused on doing whatever we had to do to win that region title tonight, and we made it happen. It’s good to win three in a row, and it’s even better to win it in our own gym.”
The Lady Phoenix now turns their attention to the Class AAA State Tournament where they will host a first-round matchup against Region 7-AAA No. 4 seed North Hall this week with a day and time to be announced. Sonoraville is coming off an Elite Eight run last season and a Final Four berth the year before, and if they have anything to do with it, this state tournament run will be another special one according to Geary and Bowman.
“We are confident in what we can do,” said Geary. “We’re going to come to practice and keep working because the job is not finished yet. We’re going to focus on us and what we have to do to win one game at a time.”
“If we go out and play like this, there is nobody that we can’t play with,” added Bowman. “We really believe that. We’re excited to get this state tournament run started. I think we have a lot of basketball left in us for these next few weeks.”
Coahulla Creek enters the Class AAA State Tournament as the No. 2 seed from 6-AAA and will host White County in the first round with a day and time to be announced.
Sonoraville Girls 73, Coahulla Creek 40
COAHULLA CREEK (40)
E. Turner 8, T. Poe 2, Richards 11, B. Reed 6, Snyder 1, Woods 6, J. Poe 6
Parker 2, Pasley 2, Bowman 16, Chambers 16, Geary 18, Long 6, Smith 8
C.C. 17 0 12 11—43
Son. 12 19 26 16—73
3-pointers – Coahulla Creek 4 (J. Poe 2, Turner 1, B. Reed 1); Sonoraville 11 (Bowman 5, Chambers 4, Geary 1), Free Throws – Coahulla Creek 14-23; Sonoraville 8-15, Records –Sonoraville 21-4.