FORT THOMAS — While there aren’t any trophies to be earned, that doesn’t stop basketball players from putting forth everything they’ve got to produce a win, as all five teams demonstrated on Wednesday.
Safford showed signs of a strong offense in the making with solid longe range shots while playing Morenci the Lady Wildcats, who kept pace with them and denied shots down low. Morenci has some fast feet on their team and a couple strong shooters so far.
Morenci head coach Albert Ortega said, “This was the first time we’ve had all these girls together. Yesterday was the most girls we’ve had at one time. They haven’t had time to gel together yet. They’re fast but they’ll be a lot faster once they get to practice together.”
Fort Thomas is proving to be another fast-paced team in their game against Willcox. The Cowgirls attack the basket a lot, their shooting is improving, and they’re producing a lot of steals as they learn to anticipate where the ball is going.
Fort Thomas head coach Lee Haws said, “We’re working on different things and I’m still trying to figure these girls out. I’m trying to adapt my system, my coaching philosophy to get it to click with them. That’s the job of a coach: you have to get kids to play hard, but you also need to put them in a position to be the best that they can be. We played hard today. Morenci’s very physical. They beat us last week. We just told the girls they have to match their intensity. They out-worked us last week.”
While under a new coach with a handful of new faces, Thatcher has great synergy that creates fast ball movement around the court and converts to points. Morenci struggled to slow them down and to get their own shots to fall consistently.
New Thatcher head coach Dennis Griffin said, “They’re having fun and playing hard. It’s going to be a fun year.”
Thatcher and Safford played an all-out game at the end of the night. Thatcher was up by a good dozen points but Safford brought it back to within five before the Lady Eagles realized they couldn’t get complacent.
Safford head coach Robert Abalos said, “Thatcher came out and shot extremely well in the first half. We told the girls to stick to the game plan, that if they shoot like that the whole game, then you just take your hats off to them. But thank god they cooled down and we were able to limit them to one shot and control the boards in the second half, and we drove in a lot more. We had a lot more layups in the second half. Camarena, a little freshman girl, she did extremely well today. She’s a threat from the outside and she’s a threat on the inside as well. She dribbled and did some things that proved she can play at this level. We’re real happy to see that.”
A few of the teams played in a Tucson tournament over the weekend. They play again on Wednesday June 19 at Fort Thomas starting at 6 p.m. in both gymnasiums.