GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Fifty miles west of Phoenix on I-10 there sits the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant and nearby is Tonopah High School - the host of the their annual holiday tournament. The Phantoms didn't make the five-hour bus ride in vain. Perhaps the Lady Phantoms harnessed some of the power plant's energy as they steamrolled over most of the competition during the three-day holiday tournament. The Lady Phantoms played six games over three days and held their heads high as they came away with the runner-up trophy. Although the Phantoms fell short of the championship, they gained some much needed confidence as they head into the final month of the regular season.
The Ladies took a 40-22 win over the San Tan Foothills team to start the tourney Dec. 28. Tiffany Kerr led the team with 12 points. She played great all weekend and hurt many teams with her three-point shooting.
"The tournament was a great experience. It was fun to beat good teams from bigger schools," Kerr said.
The girls took on San Pasquel Dec. 28 as well, taking the win with a final score of Grand Canyon 44, San Pasquel 16. Miriam Bankston and Madison Berry paced the team with 10 points each. The following day saw the Ladies take on Tonopah, again taking a 33-22 win. Miriam Bankston had 12 points to lead the way against the host school.
The wins came to end Dec. 29 as the girls took on Phoenix Christian, taking a loss in the game with a final score of Phoenix Christian 59, Lady Phantoms 31. The 2A powerhouse team from Phoenix Christian was the only team at the tournament to hand the Phantoms a loss. Eventually losing to them again in the finals, the Phantoms looked a bit intimidated by the bigger, faster, stronger Phoenix Christian squad. Miriam Bankston had six points to lead the Phantoms.
On Dec. 30, the last day of the tournament, all the teams were put into a bracket to decide the tournament champion. The Phantoms had to face off against the host school in a rematch of the day before. The Phantoms beat them with a score of Grand Canyon 42, Tonopah 24, to get into the championship game - a rematch against Phoenix Christian.
The championship game went similar to the first game with Phoenix Christian. The Phantoms got outplayed in every facet of the game, and ended with a 55-27 loss against the tough Phoenix Christian squad. Miriam Bankston led the team with 7 points. She was proud to be one of only eight players in the whole tournament to be voted to the "All Tournament" team.
"The key to our success was the fact that we are now playing with more confidence," said coach Dan Lopez. "We are playing well as a team. Everyone is contributing, and our defense and rebounding is improving."
The Lady Phantoms improve to 10-6 overall 3-0 in conference. They remain in first place in the 1A West Division. Their next home game is on Saturday against Ash Fork.