The Camp Verde High School girls basketball team outran the Mayer High School Bobcats early and often en route to a 46-17 season debut victory on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
The Cowboys [1-0], sporting new uniforms, sentenced the game early, going up 19-3 after the first quarter and 32-6 at halftime. Despite the heavy margin of victory, there is much to be worked on.
“The major thing for the night is there’s lots of room for improvement,” Cowboys head coach Mark Showers said. “A lot of it is focus. I noticed it with our outside shots …. This team is actually a pretty good outside shooting team, but you couldn’t tell tonight because they were throwing up bricks.”
The Cowboys did take the first possession and moved the ball side to side until sophomore forward Destiny Dowdle hit a three-pointer, getting the Camp Verde faithful to sit back down in their seats.
Sophomore center Jacy Finley scored five straight points and junior guard Hope Ontiveros hit a three to put the hosts in control, up 11-2.
Through the rest of the game, though, shots were taken early in possession. The shots were rushed as well, but the Cowboys had enough second-chance opportunities to convert.
The framework for what the team wants to do is in place: Running the floor and perimeter shooting. The team did push the pace and take outside shots, many of which were three-pointers, but converting the fast break and beyond-the-arc shots was a different story.
“That’s why I wasn’t as restrictive as I usually am. I wanted them to play; I didn’t want to hold them back. Even though they were pushing it a little bit I wanted them to get out and get up and down the floor,” Showers said.
Mayer played a man defense, which Showers was happy about because it allowed his team to work on its offense. Naturally, the Bobcats also adjusted to what the Cowboys were doing. Now the next step, Showers said, is to get them to react to those adjustments.
Part of it is youth. Making up the starting five are four sophomores and one junior; four of those players were starters for most of last year as freshmen and sophomores.
Carrying a year of varsity experience under their belt meant more confidence on the floor.
“Because we’ve all played together I think it’s really good, because it’s like a team and a family out there,” sophomore guard Tanna Decker said. “We all worked together really well with our passes.”
Nonetheless mistakes were made.
Camp Verde was aggressive defensively, but committed a lot of fouls, many of which after being beat by a Bobcat dribbling to the basket. It also committed a number of careless turnovers.
The biggest question mark coming in was rebounding. Finley stands at 6 feet tall and grabbed 18 boards in the game. She also scored 11 points to complete a double-double. But Showers was steadfast in the idea that contributions must come from elsewhere.
“We saw tonight that we didn’t get a whole lot of help from anybody on the boards,” Showers said. “Somebody’s going to have to pick up the slack.”
The team played at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy on Tuesday, Nov. 28, but results were unavailable at press time. The team next plays at the Phoenix Country Day School Desert Classic on Friday and Saturday,
Dec. 1 and 2.