Heading into Friday night's final pool play game vs. Fredonia, things looked good for the Williams girls basketball team.
The Lady Vikings had posted a thrilling 39-38 victory over Grand Canyon the night before and began Friday with a 70-28 rout over hapless Laughlin.
But Fredonia surprised Williams, took a 44-38 win, and sent the Vikes down into the third-place game. There, Williams had to play Class 3A Camp Verde for the second time this season and suffered a 55-39 setback to settle for fourth.
"I think we were just too tired against Fredonia," WHS co-coach Kristi Fredrickson said. "We played a lot better against Camp Verde."
Camp Verde led from the start but Williams was competitive throughout. The Cowboys saw a 30-21 lead with three minutes left in the second quarter shrink to 31-26 by halftime.
Free throws by Lyssa Mulvihill and Beth Harris along with a basket by Hillary Wamble brought the team back.
In the third quarter, the girls managed only three points in eight minutes but were still down by only 10. Camp Verde responded and pulled away in the fourth for the 16-point win.
Playing five teams in one week, including a draining overtime contest against Seligman and a one-point game vs. Grand Canyon, may have played a role in the late-week losses.
The win over Grand Canyon was a close one the whole way. The game was tied after the first, second and third quarters to set up a thrilling fourth.
Williams began the fourth with baskets by Melissa Pettit and Harris. After Grand Canyon scored to make it 33-31, Amy Christman put the ball in for a four-point lead.
Over the next two minutes, Williams upped its lead to 39-31 on baskets by Mulvihill. But that would be it the rest of the game for WHS.
Grand Canyon chipped away at the deficit and trailed 39-38 with 1:09 left on a free throw by Katie Clayton.
Neither team produced any points in the final minute. Williams blocked a Grand Canyon shot with six seconds left and then another Phantom attempt with two seconds left didn't fall.
"We should have just held the ball when we were up by five," Fredrickson said. "In the close games, we don't know what to do. It's good experience, so they know what to do when we're in the state playoffs."
Mulvihill led Williams with 12 points.
The next day, Williams took the 70-28 win over Laughlin. The Lady Vikings led 21-5 after the first quarter and never looked back.
At the half, the Vikings led 36-15 and outscored Laughlin 34-13 in the final two periods.
Mulvihill, an all-tournament selection, led Williams with 21 points. Harris scored 16, including an 8-for-16 effort from the free-throw line.
Later in the day, Fredonia took the six-point win over the Lady Vikes. Neither team could do much in the first quarter with the Lady Lynx leading 6-2.
In the second quarter, Williams got some offense going and took an 18-16 lead in at the half. But in the third quarter, Fredonia took control.
The Lynx led by five at the end of the quarter and held on in the fourth to hand Williams its first tournament loss.
Mulvihill led Williams with 14 points. Harris scored 12 and Pettit added 10.
Fredonia went on to play in the finals vs. Seligman and dropped a 44-34 decision.
For the tournament, Mulvihill averaged 14 points per game.
Joining Mulvihill on the all-tournament team were Grand Canyon's Katie Clayton, Mogollon's Kandra Greer, Camp Verde's Chantel Reimer, Fredonia's Brandi Power and Seligman's Chira Burch and Erica Alvarado, who was the most valuable player.
Seligman went unbeaten in its four games, downing San Pasqual-Calif., 71-39, Camp Verde, 43-33,
See Girls BB, Page 9A