The Grand Canyon High School girls basketball team picked up a couple of big wins over an outmanned opponent and nearly rallied to knock off one of the better small 2A schools in the state last week.
Tiffany Monroe, left, and Samantha Stickler fight for the ball vs. Williams.
The Lady Phantoms coasted to victories of 58-17 and 53-12 over Peach Springs Music Mountain. The victories upped Grand Canyon’s record in the 1A North to 5-4.
In a Wednesday game at home, Grand Canyon jumped out to an 18-0 lead in the first quarter and dominated the Mustangs. Melissa Monroe scored eight points in the first eight minutes.
The Phantoms got the inside game going in the third. Samantha Stickler scored 16 of the team’s 20 points in the quarter and finished with 25 for the game. Monroe ended up with 12.
In Saturday’s win over the Mustangs at Peach Springs, Stickler scored 20 and Monroe had 10, but it was players like Danielle Bone, Leslie Martinez and Ursula Torivio who excited the team because they contributed varsity points.
Although a loss, the most thrilling game came Friday at Williams. The Lady Vikings appeared to be in control most of the game but had to persevere a Phantom rally in the fourth quarter to take a 47-39 win.
"I was really proud of how the girls played," GC coach Andrew Aldaz said. "They were doing stuff we’ve been working on whole season. It was one of our goals to give Williams a better game the next time we played them."
In the second quarter, Williams began to pull away a little and led by 12 at the intermission. Grand Canyon’s offense was one-dimensional with Stickler and Monroe scoring all points in the first half.
Williams built an 18-point lead with 5:08 left in the third and equaled that margin with 2:57 left in the quarter. When the Phantoms began to get points from their other players, things got interesting in the second half.
The first player other than Stickler or Monroe to score was Tiffany Monroe with 1:50 left in the third. Free throws by Melissa Monroe and Colette Aspaas and a hoop by Stickler pulled the Phantoms to within 12.
In the fourth, Grand Canyon came back to within six on two occasions. Melissa Monroe scored with 2:43 left and hit two free throws with 2:30 left to make the score, 43-37. After Williams scored, Stickler hit a shot with 35 seconds left and the Phantoms trailed 45-39.
But the clock would wind down and Grand Canyon didn’t have enough time to complete a comeback.
"Right now, I can see that as our best game of the season," Aldaz said. "The girls felt really good about the game afterward. For us, it’s unfortunate we had a really bad second quarter, but overall in the second half, we outplayed them."
Stickler scored 19 and Melissa Monroe had 14, eight in the fourth quarter.
Grand Canyon took an 8-8 overall record into a Monday game at Ash Fork. The contest was played after presstime.
The Phantoms head to Fredonia Saturday for a 4 p.m. game.
In junior-varsity action Friday, Grand Canyon dropped a 49-21 decision to Williams.
Melissa Skeet scored five points while Kecia Torivio and Ursula Torivio each added four. Danielle Bone, Tiffany Monroe, Martinez and Becky Richardson scored two apiece.
The JV (0-5) plays Saturday.