The Camp Verde High School boys basketball team got its biggest win of the season Friday, Jan. 6, upsetting the visiting Badgers of Prescott High School, 54-52.
“I thought we showed good patience and good ball control. We handled their press, and we made them play more of our game,” senior big man Jake Spleiss said after the game Friday.
Down 51-49 with 1:16 to go in the game, junior Jacob Lewis was given a technical foul for shouting at a referee, claiming he was fouled on a play.
Prescott senior Tyler Toth hit one of the two technical foul free throws, giving his team a 52-49 lead.
With 44 seconds to go, Spleiss hit a jumper to cut the Badgers’ lead, 52-51, then with 18 seconds left, Lewis went strong to the hole for a layup, giving the Cowboys a 53-52 lead they would not relinquish.
Lewis had 11 points and 12 rebounds to go along with his two assists. Spleiss had 11 points and 18 rebounds while senior jumper specialist Johnny Hudson had 11 points, five assists and two steals.
The key to the game for Camp Verde was 6-foot, 10-inch Prescott sophomore center Cameron Gilbert, who was in foul trouble the majority of the game against the Cowboys on Friday. Gilbert is easily the best player for Prescott, but he did not show it against Camp Verde.
In the first game on Dec. 6 when these two clubs met up, Prescott won at home with a 65-61 victory, and longtime Camp Verde Head Coach Darren Gagnon knew then his team could get a win Friday.
“We focused so well on our half-court defense tonight. The last time we played them, we had a few breakdowns and it killed us. This time, we were able to do much better,” Gagnon said. “Our goal was to keep them under 60 because they like to get up and down, so allowing 52 was a great job defensively for our kids.”
With the victory, Camp Verde improves to 9-8 overall this season. The Cowboys are ranked No. 26 in the Division III Arizona Interscholastic Association power point poll, which was released Sunday, Jan. 8.
In Section III [Division III], Camp Verde is ranked No. 6. The top eight move forward after the regular season is complete to play in the sectional tournament, which begins Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Willow Canyon High School.
If the season ended today, the Cowboys would play Parker High School, which is No. 3, in the sectional tournament.
Camp Verde was in action again Tuesday, Jan. 10, against Bradshaw Mountain High School. Results were unavailable at press time.
Next up, Camp Verde will host Mayer High School on Friday, Jan. 13. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.