The Canyon Del Oro and Mountain View girls basketball teams each won first-round playoff games at home in the state playoffs. Unfortunately, both teams fell in the second round.
The 13th-ranked Dorados defeated No. 20 Betty Fairfax 47-40 behind 17 points from Alicia Vallejos in Division II play. In their second-round game, they lost to Thunderbird 61-37.
In Division I play, the 12th-ranked Mountain View Mountain Lions defeated Cibola 64-39 to open the state playoffs. Melody McLaughlin led the way with 23 points. But in the second round, despite forcing overtime versus fifth-ranked Hamilton, the Mountain Lions fell short 66-61.
The CDO girls’ basketball team was virtually guaranteed a first-round home playoff game after making it to the sectional finals the week before. The Dorados had handed the Flowing Wells Caballeros their only regular-season loss on Jan. 11 behind 24 points from guard Brittany West.
That win also helped to cement a home game for CDO at state. The bad news is that in the sectional title game on Feb. 9, the Caballeros got the better of the Dorados, 39-22, to win the sectional title in Division II play.
The Dorados opened the regional tournament by defeating Pusch Ridge 46-35. Hailey Jones led the way with 17 points, while West had 13. Next, they defeated Sabino in double overtime, 45-43 to get into the final. West had 17 in the exhausting win, while Jones had 14. Another poor start plagued the Dorados against Flowing Wells in the regional title game. They missed their first 12 shots, and finished the first quarter, trailing, 10-2. Every time the Dorados got into the paint, it seemed their shots were getting rejected by the bigs of the Caballeros, particularly 6’1” Lyndsay Leikem. Leikem even came outside to block a 3-point attempt in the lackluster first quarter. Leikem has starred to such an extent during her senior season, she’s recorded three 20-20 games (points and rebounds).
“We have been slow starters all season,” said CDO coach Kent Senzee. “Sometimes it takes us awhile.
“The Caballeros offense flowed smoothly throughout the first quarter, as they made crisp passes and seemed to find open shots routinely. But the Dorados hung tough in the second quarter, as the Caballeros started missing some shots, and the Dorados found themselves trailing, 14-7. This was quite an accomplishment after shooting 3-24 in the first half. A strong defensive effort gave CDO a chance, as they held Leikem to just two points, and 1-7 shooting in the first half.
“We tried to stop Leikem,” Senzee said. “Their low-post game killed us. In the first game, they didn’t expose us. They settled for a lot of outside shots.”
Shalise Fernander led all scorers with 10 points, while Mikaela Cook seemed almost unstoppable down low en-route to eight points for the Caballeros. Leikem finished with six.
In the second half, the Dorados seemed to show a hesitancy to go inside. Additionally, after a 10-2 third quarter run by Flowing Wells, the growing deficit made three-point shooting seem more palatable. Unfortunately, this offensive approach led to the Dorados not shooting any free throws in the first three quarters. They finished 4-6 from the line.
Vallejos scored six of her nine points in the second half to lead CDO.
West was off the mark throughout the night, and finished with seven points.
How good did Flowing Wells look moving the ball on Saturday?
“They flowed well in the third quarter,” Senzee said.
What the Dorados did accomplish was done through defense.
Despite the strong start by Flowing Wells, the Dorados held the Caballeros to 34 percent shooting overall.
In other Division II state playoff action, 19th-ranked Pusch Ridge lost to 14th-ranked South Mountain, 54-41, despite 19 points from Gabrielle Courtney.
The 21st-ranked Canyon Del Oro Boys lost their first-round game to 12th-ranked Desert Edge.