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Fri, Dec

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.

Senior Jake Spleiss, No. 24, stretches past the height of the Prescott High School defense during a home game Friday,  Jan. 6.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.

The Camp Verde High School girls basketball team won the 14th annual Yvonne Johnson Memorial Shootout last week, defeating Joy Christian Academy in the title game, 63-48.

Senior center Lila Hickey, No. 40, shoots a jumper. The Camp Verde High School girls basketball team went 4-0 at the tournament, defeating Joy Christian Academy in the title game, 63-48.“I actually thought they [Joy Christian] were the best team in the tournament, but they ended up being the third best because Seligman was really good, too,” longtime Camp Verde Head Coach Mark Showers said.

Senior center Lila Hickey scored 28 points and pulled 11 rebounds in the tournament championship game Dec. 28 to lead the Cowboys. Junior forward Katie Wilson had nine points, nine rebounds and four assists in the victory.

With the tournament championship trophy sitting nicely in a case in Showers’ office, the Cowboys improved to 14-3 overall this season.

In the tournament semifinals Dec. 28, the Cowboys were paired with Seligman High School and wound up winning a close one, 48-46.

Junior guard Amanda Showers had 17 points, six steals and two assists in the victory while Hickey had eight points and eight rebounds.

Wilson scored only six points but pulled a season-high and personal best 18 rebounds against Seligman.

“This was a team in Seligman that had a legitimate post player,” Mark Showers said. “They packed it in defensively and dared us to shoot from the outside, and we struggled with that a bit.”

Camp Verde didn’t have a problem at the free-throw line, hitting 14 of 20 including Wilson’s two free throws to seal the deal at the end of the game.

On Dec. 27, Camp Verde won two games to get itself into the championship bracket, defeating Mogollon High School 66-20 and Parker High School, 56-36, giving the Cowboys a perfect 4-0 record at their own tournament.

In 14 years, the Cowboys have won eight Yvonne Johnson Memorial Tournament championships. Hickey and Amanda Showers were awarded All-Tournament team medals for their stellar performances.

Next up, the Cowboys are set to travel to Prescott High School on Friday, Jan. 6. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

In a 33-team tournament at Moon Valley High School on Dec. 16 and 17, the Camp Verde High School wrestling team finished fourth overall, the smallest school to place in the top five at the tournament.

Joel Lobaugh wins his match against a Bradshaw Mountain High School wrestler in the last few seconds on Dec. 9. Lobaugh went 7-2 overall at the Moon Valley Invitational on Dec. 16 and 17.“The team wrestled aggressively,” Camp Verde Head Coach Bob Weir said. “Every wrestler gave 100 percent on all their matches. We were the smallest school in the tournament and we did well.”

Corona Del Sol High School, a Division I program, finished first overall in the team standings while fellow Division I program Desert Vista High School was second. Horizon High School, a Division II school, finished third, while the Cowboys took fourth. Division II Moon Valley wrapped up the top five.

Top performances for the Cowboys at the Moon Valley Invitational included senior Michael Casillas, who finished 8-1 in the 106-pound weight class with five pins. His 8-1 record was good enough for second place overall.

Sophomore Isaiah McReynolds, who wrestles at 113 pounds, finished second overall with a 7-2 overall record in the field and five pins at the tournament.

“Isaiah [McReynolds] had a great tournament. He ended in a three-way tie for first in the pool and won it on a tiebreaker. He defeated the three state placers from last season,” Weir said.

Other notables from the Moon Valley Invitational for the Cowboys include 138-pound junior Heath Carroll, who was 8-2 with four pins, finishing fourth overall.

At 152 pounds, junior Joel Lobaugh took seventh overall with a 7-2 record and five pins while fellow junior Elmer Ruiz, who wrestled at 195 pounds in the tournament, was 7-3 with four pins to finish sixth.

Junior Anthony McBeth at 220 pounds did not place, but he finished with a 5-2 record and three pins in his pool. Senior Derrick Brown at 145 pounds did not place, but he was 5-2 with four pins.

“Tournaments like this will help prepare the team for the competitive level of the Division IV state tournament,” Weir said.

Next up for the Cowboys is the Steve Blackford Wrestling Tournament at Arizona State University on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 28 and 29.

At ASU, the Cowboys will see 31 other teams wrestling in four pools of eight. The winners of each pool will wrestle in an eight-team bracket at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe while the Sun Devils wrestling team competes at the same time.

“It will be a great opportunity for a small school to show talent and hard work, both of which our guys have,” Weir said.

No official start time was released for the tournament at ASU this week. Camp Verde will return home Wednesday, Jan. 11, for a six-way meet.

First match time for the tournament in Camp Verde is set for 3 p.m.

The Camp Verde High School boys basketball claimed its second straight victory at home Friday, Dec. 16, defeating the visiting Spartans of Northland Preparatory Academy, 60-45.

Jake Spleiss, No. 24, looks for his chance to take a shot during a home game against Northland Preparatory Academy on Friday, Dec. 16.“I was actually impressed with our second group of guys coming off the bench,” longtime Camp Verde Head Coach Darren Gagnon said. “Our team as a whole did a good job on offense. They moved the ball from side to side and looked for good shots. And the boys shot the ball well when they were open.”

Camp Verde shot 50 percent from the field Friday and was 7 of 17 from behind the arc to gain the advantage over a Spartans club that is known for its dead-eye shooting from the three-point line.

Senior Brian Hudson was outstanding, leading the Cowboys with 12 points, nine of which came from the three-point line. Hudson had three assists and one steal in the 60-45 win.

The Cowboys were up 11-10 at one point in the first quarter, and eventually took a 17-10 at the end of the period, leading Gagnon to believe Northland Preparatory was in town to get a win.

“They are a scrappy bunch. At one point it was 11-10 during a timeout and I could see then why they can give anyone fits,” Gagnon said.

The Spartans outscored Camp Verde 18-15 in the second quarter to cut the Cowboys’ lead to four at halftime, 32-28. Camp Verde came out hot in the third quarter, however, outscoring the Spartans 14-7 to take a 46-35 lead. From then on, Camp Verde outscored Northland Preparatory 14-10 in the fourth to go on and win, 60-45.

“The game was not great all around,” senior center Jake Spleiss said. “Not everyone put up big numbers but everyone put up numbers. We executed greatly in the second half, and our shots were falling.”

Spleiss had only four points but pulled 11 rebounds in the win. Other standouts included sophomore Marlon Onteveros who had 10 points, four rebounds, one steal and one assist while senior Johnny Hudson had 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

“I think when we came out, we played at their level and we should have started out playing at our level,” Hudson said.

With the victory, Camp Verde improves to 6-4 overall this season and 4-1 in Arizona Interscholastic Association power point play.

The Cowboys are ranked No. 31 in the AIA power point standings, which were released Monday, Dec. 19.

Camp Verde was in action once again Tuesday, Dec. 20, when it played host to Coconino High School. Results were unavailable at press time.

Next up, Camp Verde is scheduled to participate in the Bradshaw Mountain Invitational tournament over Christmas break.

The tournament at Bradshaw Mountain High School in Prescott Valley is scheduled to begin Monday, Dec. 26, and run through Wednesday, Dec. 28.

The Cowboys are paired with Rincon High School to begin the tournament Monday. Tipoff for the game has yet to be announced.

Camp Verde will return home Friday, Jan. 6, when it hosts the Badgers of Prescott High School. Tipoff against the Badgers is set for 7 p.m.

The Camp Verde High School wrestling team took first place in its own Verde Duals Wrestling Tournament this past weekend, beating out 15 other schools for the first-place prize.

Scrappy and efficient, Camp Verde High School senior Michael Casillas, top, puts major pressure on his Bradshaw Mountain High School opponent in the 106-pound weight class at the Verde Duals on Friday, Dec. 9.“The tournament was an impressive opening for the young, aggressive Cowboy wrestling team,” longtime Camp Verde Head Coach Bob Weir said. “The team gave everything they had and came out of the tournament for the 12th year in a row as the tournament champions.”

It was the 18th time Camp Verde has held the event, with several Cowboys wrestlers doing quite well on the mat Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10.

At 106 pounds, senior Michael Casillas won the Outstanding Wrestler Award for his perfect 9-0 performance and three pins over the weekend in Camp Verde.

“This is his second year wrestling for the Cowboys and he is on a mission to win a state championship this year,” Weir said.

There were plenty of other top performances for the Cowboys at the Verde Duals as well including four second-place finishes by two freshmen, a sophomore and a junior for Camp Verde.

Sophomore Isiah McReynolds, who wrestles at 113 pounds, finished second overall with a 9-1 record and seven pins while 121-pound freshman Ryan Allred was 8-1 with seven pins, finishing second overall.

At 132 pounds, freshman Michael Nelson was second overall with a 9-1 record and six pins.

Junior Edwin Hazelwood was also in the mix for second-place finishers, going 9-1 with six pins in the heavyweight division at 285 pounds.

Overall, Camp Verde finished 7-0 at its own meet in duals, defeating several teams by nearly 70 points or more.

Camp Verde beat Tuba City [78-6], Winslow [72-12], Bradshaw Mountain [68-9], River Valley [72-6], Peoria [52-18], Antelope [75-6] and Cactus Shadows [78-3] high schools.

Camp Verde took first with 620 total team points while St. Johns High School was second with 525.5 points. Peoria wrapped up the top three with 469 points while Sunnyslope High School was fourth with 396 points. Holbrook High School was fifth with 327 points.

“The returning wrestlers and new wrestlers for the Cowboys have a new attitude to bring back the respect of Camp Verde wrestling on the mat and off,” Weir said.

Other top individual performances for the Cowboys over the weekend included 138-pound junior Heath Carroll, who was 9-1 with six pins, finishing third overall, while 145-pound junior Alex Anzar was third overall with a 9-1 record and five pins.

At 170 pounds, senior Andrew Teague was fourth overall with a 7-3 record and four pins while 195-pound junior Elmer Ruiz was fourth overall with a 7-3 record and five pins.

“It was a good weekend for the team with us winning the tournament and showing that we are a tough dual team to everyone else,” sophomore Chance Weir said. Weir was 2-4 during the meet this weekend.

The Cowboys get the week to prepare for the Moon Valley Tournament with 32 schools scheduled to be in attendance.

The Moon Valley Tournament is set to take place Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16 and 17, at Moon Valley High School. The first dual Friday is set for 10:30 a.m.

The Cowboys’ 68-41 loss to No. 3 Thatcher High School in the second round of the 2A conference state tournament in February wasn’t how Head Coach Darren Gagnon wanted things to end last season.

Senior Brian Hudson looks to put two points on the  board however he can during a basketball scrimmage at home against Joy Christian Academy on Thursday, Nov. 17. The Camp Verde High School boys basketball team finished 17-14  overall last season, and the Cowboys hope to repeat that success.The good news is, basketball season has begun once again at Camp Verde High School.

“We will have a well-rounded team this season. We will not be great at any one position, but we’ll be stronger together. What’s nice is our kids pull for each other, and they share the ball well. They just play together well,” Gagnon said.

Camp Verde finished the 2010-2011 campaign with an even 14-14 overall record. Having played one of its toughest regular season schedules in the program’s history, Gagnon was more than pleased with a 17-14 mark last year.

The Cowboys lost four seniors to graduation in May, two of whom were more than likely the best players in the Verde Valley, Trey Cooper and Shaq Watahomigie. Daniel Brunner and Kyle Niederer were the other two.

“I think my biggest expectation this season is we will see a different take on Camp Verde basketball. We had a couple of really talented kids [Watahomigie and Cooper] play for us for a long time and now our team will just look a little different,” Gagnon said.

Replacing Watahomigie and Cooper will not be easy for Gagnon but the Cowboys still have plenty of talent left over from last winter.

Top returners this season for Camp Verde include senior center Jake Spleiss and senior guards Brian Hudson and Johnny Hudson.

At 6-foot, 4-inches, Spleiss is a force in the middle while the Hudson boys provide an outside presence at the guard position.

“I think we’ll have a ton of success as soon as we begin to gel like we did in the summer. We’ve only been together a short time and we are looking promising,” Spleiss said.

Senior Deshon Tripp returns this winter as well, but injuries suffered during football season may slow his progress in the early part of this season. Tripp fractured his shoulder in the last football game of the season for Camp Verde on Nov. 11. Gagnon reported there is no timetable for Tripp’s return this season. Other top returners include seniors Marco Lozanilla and Josh Benson.

Top newcomers this season for the Cowboys include seniors Joe Wilson and Chris Zellner along with juniors Jacob Lewis, Cezar Quevas, Justin Reay and Ryan Dufresne. Sophomores Kenu Garcia and Mitchel Lapham also made the team.

The regular season schedule will be just as tough as it was last season for the Cowboys this winter with games against Coconino, Prescott and Bradshaw Mountain high schools.

Generally, Camp Verde does not play Coconino, Prescott and Bradshaw Mountain during regular season power point games, but with the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s changes to alignments, it does now.

“With the new alignment, we don’t know what to expect. I’ll be happy if we just compete with some of those teams,” Gagnon said.

Other top games for Cowboys fans to consider attending include the two home games against Mingus Union and Sedona Red Rock high schools.

Mingus is scheduled to visit Camp Verde on Tuesday, Jan. 24, while Sedona comes to town Friday, Feb. 3, which happens to be the regular season finale.

The Camp Verde High School wrestling team begins the 2011-2012 season looking to reach its goals of not only winning a sectional title, but a state championship as well.

Camp Verde High School senior wrestlers Michael Casillas, left, and Derrick Brown take to the mats during practice Friday,  Nov. 11. Head Coach Bob Weir expects big things out of his Cowboys this season, hoping to win a Division IV state title in February.Head Coach Bob Weir believes this year’s Cowboys team could be strong enough and deep enough to do it, but reaching the aforementioned goals will take hard work.

“We’ve got some good kids. We’ll have over 30 wrestlers on the mat this season now that football is over,” Weir said.

The beginning of the regular season is coming rather quickly with the first seven-way meet set for Tuesday, Nov. 22, in Camp Verde.

Joseph City, Parker, Canyon State, Benson, Wickenburg and Flagstaff high schools will be in attendance next week, with the Cowboys looking to top all of them.

The schedule is brutal this season for the Cowboys, according to Weir. Camp Verde is set to wrestle at the Arizona State University Blackford Tournament over Christmas break, and the boys will be at the Payson Invitational during the middle of January.

“The schedule this year is tough, but we have high expectations,” Weir said.

Top returners for this year’s squad include two solid seniors in Michael Casillas and Derek Brown. Casillas finished sixth overall at state his junior year in the 106-pound division and will be looking for a state title this winter. As for Brown, he was third overall at 145 pounds in 2010-2011.

Camp Verde has a solid junior core of grapplers returning as well beginning with Heath Carroll who returns at 138 pounds after taking fourth overall in the Division IV State Championships last winter.

Junior Joel Lobaugh returns along with junior teammate Alex Anzar. Both Lobaugh and Anzar’s weight classification is yet to be determined, but the two should wrestle

anywhere between 145 and 160 pounds.

Junior Anthony McBeth returns to grapple at 220 pounds while junior Elmer Ruiz is set at 190 pounds.

In the sophomore class, 113-pound Isaiah McReynolds returns along with 145-pound Chance Weir.

Top newcomers for the Cowboys this season include senior Jacob Dodge at 126 pounds, and a pair of freshmen in Ryan Alred and Jeremiah Crespo. Alred should wrestle at 119 pounds, according to Weir. Alred was a three-time state title holder in middle school.

“We have a good coaching staff this year and again, our goal is to win a state title. This should be a good year,” Bob Weir said.

The Camp Verde High School wrestling team began on a high note Nov. 22, recording a 4-0 dual record at its first seven-way home meet of the season.

Ryan Allred, top, part of the freshman talent on the Camp Verde High School wrestling team, takes charge of his Park High School opponent in the 121-pound weight class during a home meet Nov. 22. The Cowboys swept the meet, beating out four other schools.“The seven-way was a good day for all of the wrestlers for the Cowboys,” longtime Camp Verde Head Coach Bob Weir said. “The Cowboys did a great job defeating regional opponents Canyon State, Parker and Wickenburg.”

For the Cowboys, Camp Verde beat Canyon State Academy 75-6, rolled over Parker High School 70-9, had no problems with Joseph City High School, 69-10, and beat Wickenburg High School, 63-15.

The four wins give Camp Verde a 4-0 record in dual meets to start the season with several top standouts performing well along the way.

At 106 pounds, senior Michael Casillas went 5-0 with three pins while sophomore Isaiah McReynolds went 4-0 with two pins in the 113-pound division.

Freshman Ryan Allred went 4-0 with two pins at 121 pounds while 138-pound junior Heath Carroll was 3-0 with two pins.

Other top performances for Camp Verde included junior Alex Anzar who went 4-0 with four pins at 145 pounds while freshman Jeremy McEachem was 5-0 with two pins at 170 pounds. At 160 pounds, sophomore Chance Weir was 2-1 with one pin.

“This season is going to be great. We have a tough group of kids this year to help with our goal of a state championship,” Weir said. “Our recent seven-way meet we went undefeated against some of the teams we will see at state, which is good for us.”

Overall, the Cowboys went 69-19 with 51 pins in their first action of the season, and Bob Weir believes this is just the beginning.

“All of the returning wrestlers performed well over the expectations Camp Verde has for them. The Cowboys are a young team with a lot of wrestling experience from our summer program and we are excited to get things under way,” Weir said.

Next up, the Cowboys are scheduled to participate in a three-way meet at Chino Valley High School on Wednesday, Nov. 30. The first match is set for 3 p.m.

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