Camp Verde High School’s boys basketball carried the lead going into halftime, but the pressure brought on by Verde Valley rival Sedona Red Rock High School proved too much in a 67-49 loss on Friday, Jan. 26.
The Cowboys [7-9, 2-4] dealt with that pressure through the first half, opening a 12-6 lead and leading by as many as 10 points in the second quarter. Giving up 30 points in the third turned the tables in favor of the visitors.
“Until tonight we were playing a little bit slower, a little more patiently. We were able to run some sets. You’ve got to hand it to Sedona, their pressure definitely sped us up tonight. It’s tough; they do a really good job of getting you out of the rhythm that you’d like to play in,” Camp Verde head coach Dan Wall said. “But before that I feel like we’ve been doing a better job of getting the shots that we want to get, playing with pace that we want to play at.”
With the loss, Camp Verde dropped to 2-4 in Central Region play, but remains in a tie for third place with Northland Preparatory Academy [7-9, 2-4].
As both teams turned the ball over nearly 10 times each in the first half, it was Camp Verde’s defense that helped it get the early advantage. Red Rock [9-3, 4-2] scored just six points in the first quarter.
Offensively, the Cowboys were able to navigate the Scorpions’ end to end pressure.
Junior forward Nick Stone scored four points in the first quarter, and then sophomore guard Jason Collier went coast to coast for a layup in the second to make it 18-13.
The next time down, Collier hit a three-pointer. Two Red Rock threes reduced the lead to four by halftime at 23-19. Things changed in the third quarter, when the Scorpions poured in 30 points to the Cowboys’ 12.
After giving up the lead at 27-25 for the first time since the opening minute, Camp Verde sophomore guard Abe Gonzalez hit a three to regain a 28-27 advantage. Then the Scorpions changed the game, going on a 15-0 run.
Stone snapped the scoreless streak, but Red Rock immediately turned three straight Cowboys turnovers into six points to make it 48-30. Camp Verde trailed 49-35 after the third.
“We had a good game the first half, then we kind of lost it second half. It was fun though,” Cowboys senior forward Ryan Loza said. “Hopefully we can get another chance at them. We let their pressure get to us, started turning the ball over a lot and gave up a lot of transition points.”
The Cowboys pulled to within 10 in the fourth quarter until tensions ran high, halting some of that momentum.