GCHS girls down<br>Seligman at regionals

GC VILLAGE — The Grand Canyon High School girls basketball team was eliminated from the Class 1A North Regional Tournament Saturday, but the Lady Phantoms didn’t go down without a fight.

The 2001-02 Grand Canyon High School varsity girls basketball team, from left, front row: Nikki Harvey, Becky Richardson, Tiffany Monroe; middle row, Andrew Aldaz, head coach; Melissa Monroe, Illanda Bitsui, Cayla Shearer, Crystal Palmer, assistant coach; Shelly Scroggins, volunteer coach; back row, Danielle Bone, Maria Durfey, Samantha Stickler and Colette Aspaas. Not pictured: Ivy Davis.

Grand Canyon opened the tournament on Friday with a 40-27 victory over Seligman, which meant the Phantoms would have a shot at making the state playoffs even with a second-round loss to St. Michael. That exact scenario played out as the Cardinals posted a 43-16 win over Grand Canyon. In the consolation final with the winner advancing to state, Joseph City came up with a 47-18 win over the Lady Phantoms.

"Overall, the girls had a great season," Grand Canyon coach Andrew Aldaz said of his team, which had little basketball experience heading into the season. "I’m pretty proud of what they accomplished. Now that the season’s over, they need to continue to play basketball and work out so they can get stronger."

Grand Canyon opened the tournament with the 13-point victory over Seligman. It was the second straight win over that school for the Phantoms.

"We led from the start, but they made a little run and came back," Aldaz said. "Coming into the third quarter, they were in foul trouble. Their top point guard … had to sit out the third quarter with foul trouble."

The Lady Phantoms vaulted out to a 14-8 lead in the first quarter and then led by four points at the break. But as the coach indicated, Grand Canyon took advantage of Seligman foul problems in the third quarter and outscored the Antelopes, 12-2. The team took a 14-point lead into the final eight minutes and was not threatened the rest of the way.

"We started to get into some foul trouble (in the fourth quarter)," Aldaz said. "Tiffany and Melissa Monroe fouled out … but we were able to maintain the lead. Maria Durfey stepped up and Illanda Bitsui did well to finish it out. We also brought some other girls in off the bench."

Melissa Monroe, junior, had one of her top scoring games of the season with 16 points on eight field goals. Samantha Stickler, freshman, also finished in double figures with 11 points.

Aldaz said it was nice to see the Lady Phantoms advance past the first round, a feat that had not been accomplished in at least five years.

"It was really nice, I think it’s been a long, long time since we advanced past the first round," Aldaz said. "With this young team, it gave them a feeling of what it feels like to advance instead of going home early."

The region tournament format is different from the past few years when a single-elimination format was used. Last year, it was Seligman that eliminated Grand Canyon.

The victory sent Grand Canyon into a Saturday morning game against St. Michael. The Lady Cardinals feature a strong team this year and should be among the favorites for the state title. But Grand Canyon gave them a fight in the early going.

"We played St. Michael’s pretty tough," Aldaz said. "We were only down by 10 at the half and they pressed us the whole time. We were able to move the ball and if we could’ve made a lot of the easy shots underneath, we would’ve been in it."

St. Michael’s led the Phantoms, 8-4, after the first quarter and upped the advantage to 20-10 by halftime. The killer for Grand Canyon came in the third quarter when the Lady Cards went on an 11-2 run.

Durfey was the Phantoms’ top scorer with six points. Durfey had three of the team’s six field goals for the game.

Grand Canyon then fell down into a consolation game with Joseph City, which had been beaten earlier by the host school, Fredonia.

The Lady Phantoms stunned the Wildcats early for a 4-0 lead. Melissa Monroe, who was named to the all-tournament team, scored twice early on fast breaks.

Joe City regrouped, however, and led 14-4 by the end of the first. In the second quarter, the Wildcats shut out Grand Canyon, 15-0, and had the game in control with a 29-4 halftime lead.

"They pressed the ball at half-court and we just couldn’t do anything with it," Aldaz said. "Sam was doubled up and we couldn’t drive the ball, getting trapped in the corners. The girls were frustrated."

Melissa Monroe led Grand Canyon scorers with nine points on three baskets and three free throws.

The Lady Phantoms end the season with an overall record of 6-18.

Summaries

GRAND CANYON 40, SELIGMAN 27

Friday at Fredonia

Scoring by quarters:

Grand Canyon 14 6 12 8—40

Seligman 8 8 2 9—27

Grand Canyon Scoring:

Tiffany Monroe 1 0-1 2, Melissa Monroe 8 0-4 16, Illanda Bitsui 3 3-6 9, Nikki Harvey 1 0-2 2, Samantha Stickler 4 3-5 11, Adrianne Keebahe 0 0-2 0. Totals 17 6-20 40.

Three-point goals: None.

ST. MICHAEL 43, GRAND CANYON 16

Saturday at Fredonia

Scoring by quarters:

Grand Canyon 4 6 2 4—16

St. Michael 8 12 11 12—43

Grand Canyon Scoring:

Tiffany Monroe 1 0-0 2, Melissa Monroe 1 2-5 4, Cayla Shearer 0 0-1 0, Illanda Bitsui 0 2-4 2, Maria Durfey 3 0-4 6, Samantha Stickler 1 0-0 2. Totals 6 4-14 16.

Three-point goals: None.

JOSEPH CITY 47, GRAND CANYON 18

Saturday at Fredonia

Scoring by quarters:

Grand Canyon 4 0 5 9—18

Joseph City 14 15 7 11—47

Grand Canyon Scoring:

Tiffany Monroe 1 0-2 2, Cayla Shearer 0 0-2 0, Illanda Bitsui 0 1-3 1, Maria Durfey 0 2-4 2, Samantha Stickler 1 2-3 4, Melissa Monroe 3 3-4 9. Totals 5 8-18 18.

Three-point goals: None.

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