PINON — Taking the floor for the season-opener Friday at the Pinon Tournament, the Grand Canyon High School girls basketball team displayed a youth movement.
Three of the five starters were freshmen along with one junior and one senior. Two of the team’s seniors did not make the trip and coach Andrew Aldaz had 10 players available for action.
But stepping out of middle-school basketball into varsity high-school action involves a big transition. As a result, the young Lady Phantoms struggled most of the tournament and lost all five of their games by an average margin of 25 points.
"A lot of that was inexperience on our part," Aldaz said. "The tournament was good for us because it gave us an idea of what we know and don’t know."
Grand Canyon played its most competitive game in the opener against Rough Rock. The Phantoms led 6-5 at halftime before ending up with a 26-17 loss.
The Phantoms lost its other two games on the first day, falling to Many Farms, 49-12, and Rock Point, 50-11. The next day, Grand Canyon lost to Rough Rock in a rematch, 31-17, and to Many Farms, 46-19.
For the tournament, Melissa Monroe and Samantha Stickler scored 75 percent of their team’s points. Monroe, junior, averaged 6.2 points per game with a high of 11 in the second game vs. Many Farms. Stickler, freshman, averaged 5.2 points per game with a high of seven in the first game vs. Many Farms.
Aldaz said the girls had fun at the tournament, which pleased him. The team just had problems setting up in its offense and had breakdowns on defense.
Aldaz said when his team had the ball "we got flustered and didn’t run our offense."
Tournament games were played with two halves and a clock that ran continuously, including during free throws.
GCHS hosted Williams Tuesday in a game after deadline.
The girls play in the Williams tournament Thursday through Saturday. The Lady Phantoms open with conference rival Ash Fork Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Williams Middle School gymnasium.