CAMP VERDE - The Camp Verde girls' basketball team cleaned the boards Wednesday and easily defeated the Cortez Colts, 56-31, in the first round of the Division III playoffs.
The top eight teams got a first-round bye, but seeds 9 through 16 hosted seeds 17 to 24. Camp Verde earned a 13 seed and a first-round home game.
Cowboys Katie Wilson and Lila Hickey exploited a significant advantage inside against the Colts. Camp Verde gained a 10-point lead in the first quarter, and won every quarter after that too.
Two Division III girls teams won on the road in the first round: (18) Round Valley defeated (15) Gilbert Christian, 50-43, and (21) Chinle defeated (12) Benson, 64-48.
It's very hard to beat a team on their home floor in the playoffs. Now all the games occur on neutral sites, the NAU Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff for the second round, Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley for the third round, and Jobing.com Arena in Glendale for the final rounds.
(13) Camp Verde plays (4) Safford Saturday, 3 p.m. in the Skydome. Camp Verde beat Safford once already this season in the Round Valley Tournament, but that was over two months ago.
Camp Verde had a tougher strength of schedule than Safford, so that could pay dividends in the next matchup.
Camp Verde boys basketball eliminated from playoffs
CHANDLER - Only down four points at halftime, the Camp Verde boys' basketball team had a chance against higher-seeded (9) Valley Christian, but the Trojans shut the door in the second half, winning 68-53.
Brian Hudson led the Cowboys with 21 points. Three of those came on a buzzer beater from half court to end the game, the season, and Hudson's high school basketball career. With three seconds left, Hudson paused for a few seconds at midcourt, set his feet, and threw it home for three.
Once again without Johnny Hudson, the CV team couldn't muster enough firepower to challenge the Trojans in their building.
The Cowboys lose quite a few seniors this year: Josh Benson, Jake Spleiss, Brian Hudson, Johnny Hudson, and Joe Wilson. That includes four starters, a shutdown defender, a jump-out-the-gym center, two sharp-shooting brothers, and an energy guy off the bench.
Good talent should be coming back too, include triple-double threat Jacob Lewis and much improved Mitch Latham.
Development of guards Cezar Cuevas and Justin Reay will be pivotal to the Cowboys' success next season.
Gallery: CV boys basketball @ Valley Christian
Gallery: CV girls basketball vs Cortez