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Mon, Jan. 20

Phantoms sail to pair of key victories

The Phantoms celebrated Homecoming last Friday by playing some of the best basketball of the season so far. Both varsity girls and boys clinched decisive wins against Beaver Dam and while the inexperienced boys JV team could not do the same, they kept their game competitive to the end.

"It was good to win Homecoming," said a pleased Head Coach Dan Lopez.

In the girls game, the match belonged to the Lady Phantoms all the way. They were leading 29-15 at the half and allowed the Beaver Dam Diamondback only four more points in the second half.

"They've been making a lot of improvement," Lopez said. "We've had a very good week of practice, putting in some press work and working on some offensive plays."

Beaver Dam's virtually non-existent bench gave the Lady Phantoms more of an advantage than they'd seen all season, but Lopez said they still turned out a competitive performance.

"They were doing some more advanced basketball stuff," he said. "I brought out the press and it worked pretty well. We beat them by the point margin we should have. I was hoping it wouldn't be a game ending in 8-6."

The comfortable lead allowed Lopez to give some younger players court time and a chance to get on the boards.

"We haven't had much cushion lately," he said. "This was a nice game to give them some varsity time. The intensity levels are much higher and the players move a lot faster."

Lindsay Haswood was the top scorer for the Phantoms with 26 points, followed by Miriam Bankston with 13. Also scoring were Monique Streit with 3, Ashana Jones with 3, Magen Timeche with 2, Natalie Martinez with 2, Jessica Shields with 2, Lizzy Tobin with 2 and Shannon Harris with 2.

Lopes said that the boys played their best game of the season against the D-Backs, cruising to a 63-42 victory. The win was especially sweet against a team that has been winning pretty consistently against schools like Seligman and Sedona.

"We defended real well," he said. "In the first half we did man-to-man and then switched to a zone defense that they had a hard time figuring out."

The Phantoms were also more successful at the charity stripe, hitting 19 of 30 attempts.

"We've been working real hard on our free throws," Lopez said.

High scorer was Emanuel Webb, who tallied 22 points and nailed five three-pointers. Also scoring in double digits were Lydell Talas with 16 and Paul Garza and Bille Booth with 10 apiece.

Lopez said the Beaver Dam was key for both teams, positioning them to take fourth place in the conference and earning them a berth in the playoffs.

"Out of the five in our division, only four go to regionals," he said.

In the girls league, Sedona and Seligman are already in and Ash Fork is looking at third.

"The fourth spot is either us or Beaver Dam," Lopez said. "If we go there and they beat us, the tie breaker will be the point differential."

The boys will have to beat Fredonia by 13 points to advance but Lopez is optimistic.

"If we play like this the rest of the way, we're going to be in really good shape," he said. "I like the way we defended. We had a lot of energy tonight."

The JV game ended 36-31 in Beaver Dam's favor. Lopez chalked the loss up to inexperience.

"They're pretty young," he said. "They played hard but they didn't make a lot of good decisions. But they are learning and it was nice to see them competitive."

Noah Aspaas was high scorer with 10. Also on the boards were Carlton Godinez with 5, Cruz Caballero with 5, Daniel Celis with 4, Temo Galacia with 3, Andres Velazquez with 2, and Jonathan Yazzie with 2.

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