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WHS girls win 3 straight, remain in region title chase

Michelle Barnes attempts a three-point shot from outside vs. the Frogs. Barnes had two from beyond the arc in the game.

“It depends on who shows up,” Williams coach Lorenzo Rodriguez said about his team. “If the team that shows up is the one that played like we did tonight (Saturday vs. Salome), then we can beat just about anybody.”

Williams remained one game behind St. Johns in the Canyon Region standings with the win over the Mustangs. The Lady Vikings played Mayer Tuesday in a game after presstime. Williams beat Mayer by 22 points in their first meeting on Jan. 10.

The Lady Vikings began the week with the Jan. 21 win over Sedona. Williams had its offense running in sync while the defense came up with several big plays in the 75-34 victory.

“Our defense was just awesome,” Rodriguez said. “We played hard, as hard as I’ve seen them play in a long time.”

Williams led by four points after the first quarter and by 10 at halftime, leaving an opportunity for Sedona to get back into it with a strong third quarter.

But just the opposite happened to the Scorpions. Williams outscored Sedona by 10 points in the third and then went on a 26-5 run in the fourth to slam the door shut.

Williams put a very balanced scoring lineup on the floor with five players hitting double figures. Teri Stevens led the way with 14 points. Dee Dee Fogg, Lyssa Mulvihill, Ashley Rocha and Sylvia Aguilar each scored 10.

The Lady Vikings headed to Heber Friday for a key matchup against Mogollon. Williams needed to notch another victory to keep pace with St. Johns in the standings.

In a game that stayed fairly close throughout, Williams escaped with a 44-35 win. The Vikings led by three at halftime and six by the end of the third quarter.

“We played well enough to win,” Rodriguez said. “We missed a lot of easy buckets ... we just tried to speed things up and take layups when they gave them to us.”

Mulvihill, senior, had a big game with 21 points on seven field goals and 5-for-12 free throws. Mulvihill hit a pair of three-pointers.

On Saturday night, Williams got off to a bit of a slow start against Salome. The Lady Vikings jumped out to a 6-2 lead on baskets by Rocha and Mulvihill but appeared to be out of sync on offense.

As a result, Salome tied the game, 6-6, with 3:37 left in the opening quarter. Then sophomore Teri Stevens took over.

Stevens scored four consecutive baskets over a period of 82 seconds. Stevens’ layup on a Fogg assist at the 1:10 mark of the first gave the team a 14-6 lead.

In the second quarter, Michelle Barnes opened things with a three-pointer to give the home team a 10-point lead. Salome countered, however, and pulled back to within 17-13 with six straight points.

A Fogg free throw and a Mulvihill three-pointer put the Vikings back on top by eight and Salome could never recover. Williams scored three more baskets — two by Stevens and one by Tami Edes — to take control at 27-13.

Salome fought for two hoops in the final 41 seconds to get the deficit down to 10 by halftime.

Although Williams had a double-digit lead, the girls were playing inconsistently and a win was by no means in the bag. Halftime adjustments were made and in the third quarter, Williams finally opened up a huge lead.

The Vikings inched its advantage upward to 13 points through the first five minutes of the third quarter. Over the final three minutes, Williams outscored the opponent 12-1 to basically put the game away.

In that key run, Mulvihill scored four, Rocha had three and Hillary Wamble found the hoop inside, but it was a three-pointer by Barnes that really knocked the wind out of the Frogs.

In the fourth quarter, Williams took a 25-point lead after a Rocha free throw and Fogg basket. Salome managed a free throw with 7 minutes remaining and Williams responded with another run of 11 consecutive points.

Wamble hit for two baskets 21 seconds apart and the team saw contributions from Mulvihill, Aguilar and Rocha to give the Lady Vikings a 35-point lead.

Down the stretch, players like Jarah Dent, Barnes, Wamble and Michelle Sandoval contributed as the home team ended up with a winning margin of 39 points.

Ten players scored for Williams in the game, led by Rocha’s 14. Stevens and Mulvihill each finished with 12 points. Wamble and Barnes each scored eight.

Williams took a 3-1 Canyon Region record into the Tuesday evening game against Mayer. If the Lady Vikings pulled out a win as expected, the team should be 4-1 heading into Friday’s rematch with Mogollon.

The regular season will wrap up next week with a Feb. 5 game at Orme and a Feb. 8 home appearance against St. Johns.

The regional playoffs are scheduled for Feb. 12 and Feb. 14-15 at sites to be determined.

Overall, Williams upped its record to 15-4 last week, one of the team’s best regular-season records in recent memory.

Williams will tip-off with Mogollon Friday at 5:30 p.m. The Feb. 5 game at Orme, which falls on a Wednesday, is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start as well.

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