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Clarkdale boys finish fourth, girls fall earlier in small school state tournament
Written by George Werner   
Friday, 14 February 2014 11:05

After beating Big Park Community School in its conference tournament Feb. 1, the Clarkdale-Jerome School’s boys basketball team returned home for the state small school championships Saturday, Feb. 8, to find its fortunes reversed.

Justin Link, No. 22, ascends for a basket over eighth-grader Gerrett Benally, No. 33, of T’iis Nazbas Community School as teammate Ethan Brogdon, No. 3, another eighth-grader for host Clarkdale-Jerome School, prepares to rebound the basketball during the Mingus Rams’ 35-34 first-round win over the Bears at the Small Schools State Championships on Friday, Feb. 7.

“They wanted us bad, and they got us,” said head coach Rudy Sandoval after the Coyotes exacted a 53-42 revenge on CJS for its three-point victory that knocked Big Park out of the Verde Valley Conference championship the week before. “We lost the game in the second quarter because of their press.

“Emotionally, that second quarter was what really flustered the guys: They had kind of a meltdown.”

Eighth-grader Justin Link scored 21 points to offset an atypical nine-point night from Bryce Cramer. Both were named to the all-tournament first team, while Zeke Behlow made the second team.

“After the game, they understood that they had nothing to be ashamed of, but I told them, ‘You have to show up for four quarters, not just one,’” Sandoval said.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Feb. 12, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.


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