SURPRISE - The Camp Verde girls' basketball team won against Estrella Foothills Tuesday, 46-37, in a first-round game of the Division III Section III tournament at Valley Vista High School.
Amanda Showers scored seven points in the first quarter and led the Cowboys with 18 points in the game. Her biggest contribution for the team: drawing fouls and knocking down free throws down the stretch.
"I think the key to this victory was finding the open man and moving the ball with purpose up the floor," said Showers. "Plus they gave us a lot of free throws."
The sectional tournament means nothing for the Cowboys in regard to the state tournament; the Camp Verde girls' regular season was already enough to punch them a ticket to the dance. Estrella Foothills on the other hand, needed to win against Camp Verde Tuesday to get a shot at the state tournament.
"If this had been an elimination game for us, we would have taken it more seriously," said Showers. "I think Estrella gave us everything they had though."
The Estrella Foothills Wolves pressed for most of the game, but the Cowboys worked the ball up as a team, never incurring a 10-second turnover.
Point guard Donnie Buss bailed out her team on some possessions, getting the ball over the time stripe. She also scored with regularity and went hard in the paint. On one play she lowered her shoulder and drove hard to the basket, drawing a blocking foul.
Good point-guard play goes a long way in the tournament, and Buss looks poised to bring her A-game.
When Lila Hickey is in the game, ideally Camp Verde wants to work the ball to their senior center so she can utilize her advantage on the block, in turn freeing up space for shooters.
Hickey fouled out with five minutes left in the game Tuesday (the game was called tight), but the Cowboys offense kept their poise after a few initial turnovers.
Estrella started throwing up threes in desperation with time winding down, but they weren't making many. The Cowboys secured rebounds and in turn the victory.
The team Camp Verde plays next, Valley Christian, has lights-out three-point shooting.
The last time the teams met, junior Tana Kemmer hit 8 three pointers as Valley Christian beat the Cowboys 57-37.
That was almost two months ago and the Cowboys have been working on their man-to-man defense all season.
"We're going to have to play man against Valley Christian and we're going to have to switch on screens. We need everyone involved. Lila will have to play defense out on the perimeter. We can't hang back in the key," said Camp Verde head coach Mark Showers.
If the Cowboys can negate Valley's three-point shooting, they've got a good chance to upset, but that's a tall order. The Valley Christian Trojans only have two losses all season.
Hickey will be the strongest player on the court when CV plays VC, and if the Cowboys get her the ball down low, she could take advantage.
The game is scheduled for Friday, 6:15 p.m. at Valley Vista High School.
Top CV performers from 1st-round game
Amanda Showers: 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3assists, 2 steals
Donnie Buss: 13 points, 5 rebounds
Lila Hickey: 11 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks
Tori Mathews: 3 steals, 2 assists
Katie Wilson: 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists
Marissa Flores: 3 rebounds
CV boys basketball loses to Fountain Hills
SURPRISE - The Camp Verde boys' basketball team lost to Fountain Hills. 80-63, Wednesday night at Willow Canyon HS in the first round of the Division III Section III tournament.
Senior Johnny Hudson did not play as he continues to deal with bulging disks in his back.
The 'Boys started the game against the Falcons with their worst quarter all season. Camp Verde didn't score until 2:38 left in the first. They only scored six points in the quarter, all coming from Mitch Latham and ones.
The Cowboys reversed course in the second quarter. Brian Hudson went off, scoring 17 points quick on 5-5 shooting from three-point range. The Fountain Hills coach yelled at his perimeter defenders every time the Falcons left Hudson open.
Camp Verde gave themselves a chance, but ultimately their slow start to the game was too much to overcome and they gassed out trying to fight back.
Latham needed to step up with Johnny Hudson out, and he had one of his best games of the season offensively, scoring 19 points.
Camp Verde approached the game as if they would be eliminated from contention if they lost, but it looks like the Cowboys still made the dance as they currently sit at 24 in the power rankings.
If they make the state tournament as the final seed, they will play the nine seed at a site to be determined.
Top CV performers from 1st-round game
Brian Hudson: 21 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist
Mitch Latham: 19 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
Jacob Lewis: 9 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists
Jake Spleiss: 8 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 blocks