The Grand Canyon girls varsity used a strong fourth quarter Thursday night against the Beaver Dam Diamondbacks, outscoring their opponent 15-4 to take a tough 20-21 victory in an 1A North Conference game.
Trailing 17-14 to start the last quarter, the Phantoms used a strong bench and aggressive defense to wear down a scrappy Beaver team.
Liz Tobin, Madison Berry and Miriam Bankston each had 7 points, and Bankston added 11 rebounds. The free throw woes continued for the young GC team as they only converted seven of 25 attempts.
"We could make it a lot easier on ourselves if we would convert more free throws but these girls are very young and a win is a win so that is the big upside," said Head Coach Dan Lopez. "I remember last year we got killed on the boards and were getting beat by 40 points on a regular basis. Now we are playing solid defense, we rebound and we keep cutting down on our turnovers, which has allowed us to be in a position to win games. In the past we would be down by 20 or 30 points and could never recover."
The Lady Phantoms dropped a heartbreaking game to the Lady 'Lopes of Seligman Saturday night, losing in the final 15 seconds 35-33.
The score was tied 33-33 with 17 seconds remaining when senior forward Tobin was fouled going to the basket, which resulted in a technical foul on a Seligman player, giving the Phantoms four free throws and possession of the ball. With a packed Antelope gym going crazy, Tobin rimmed out both free throws.
Head Coach Dan Lopez had the team's leading free throw shooter Tiffany Kerr step up to the line to shoot the technicals. She was unable to convert either attempt, so Lopez called a time-out to set up a last-second play.
The young Phantoms went on to turn the ball over and Seligman regained control, scoring the winning basket with five seconds remaining. The Phantoms were unable to get a shot off before time expired.
"What an effort we gave tonight," said Lopez. "Seligman historically blows us off the court and tonight we showed a lot heart and determination. I know Lizzy and Tif felt that they lost the game but we were five for 21 from the charity stripe so I told them not to get down on themselves. The free throws we missed in the first and second quarter were just as important as the free throws at the end of the game."
Noting that over the past seven years, there weren't many times when the Lady Phantoms were close to beating Seligman, Lopez said, "I was just proud that the team was in a position to win the game."
The Ladies continue to improve on defense as they held the 'Lopes to two field goals in the second quarter to take a 23-17 lead at the half. Seligman returned the favor in the third quarter by limiting the Phantoms to one three-point field goal to take a 27-26 lead to start the fourth quarter.
Kerr led the Phantoms with 10 points while Bankston had 7 points and a game-high 22 rebounds.