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Slow second frame costs girls hoops

Marauders
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After giving up just six first-quarter points to visiting Winslow High School, the Mingus Union High School girls basketball team gave up 25 in the second, ultimately losing 55-29 on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

The Marauders [3-2, 2-0 Grand Canyon Region] also managed just six points in the first and only four more in the problematic second to go into a 31-10 hole at halftime.


“We played well first quarter even though it was low-scoring. We played well on defense, we had our shots, we missed some, we made some,” Marauders head coach Frank Nevarez said. “The second quarter, for whatever reason, we just self destructed. And that’s a mental attitude — that we need to get ourselves over the hump because we came back second half and we played with some intensity.”

Mingus senior guard Kaycee Williams scored the first bucket for the hosts before senior forward Nikki Zielinski tied it at four and junior forward Summer Scott gave them the only lead all night at 6-4.

Bulldogs sophomore guard Emerilee Cowboy scored four straight to spark a 12-2 run that inflated the Marauders’ deficit to 18-8. Mingus junior guard Sarah Williams stopped the run with a bucket off of an inbounds play, but Winslow would score another 13 before halftime. Eight of them, in a row, came on free throws.

Mingus senior center Stephanie Esqueda and Winslow freshman forward Sierra Singer were ejected 16 seconds before the half following a mixup after getting tied up for a jump ball. As a result Esqueda missed the Friday, Dec. 8, 34-29 region win at Prescott High School.

The lopsided quarter was mostly due to turnovers caused by the Bulldogs defense, who took advantage of second-chance opportunities.

“We’re just losing focus, it’s that simple,” Nevarez said. “We have to make sure we stay with the program. We do that and we’re fine.”

Zielinski knocked down a pair of free throws to open the second half, but fouled out with 4:35 left. The three ball began to drop for the Bulldogs, as senior forward Sirena Begaye hit one before junior guard Eushawna Nodestine hit two to close out the quarter on another 12-2 run.

Mingus again struggled to create quality looks at the basket, from inside and out.

“I think No. 1: Stay within the game plan, run the plays that we’re calling. There for a while I did see that we would call a play, but we just stood, rather than passing and cutting,” Nevarez said.

All in all, Nevarez was satisfied that his team did not roll over during the final 16 minutes.

“I loved the way they came back out the second half. We could have very easily given up, and they didn’t, they came out with an intensity,” Nevarez said. “I believe if we would’ve played the second quarter with that intensity, it could have been a much different game.”

The Marauders opened Grand Canyon Region play with a 29-21 win at Mohave High School on Monday, Dec. 4.

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, Mingus beat visiting Washington High School 44-41.

Boys Basketball
The boys basketball team started a long week winning at Mohave, 65-51, to open region play. It then went to Prescott on Dec. 6, falling 75-69.

Then the Marauders went to the Holiday Basketball Tournament in Flagstaff from Thursday, Dec. 7, to Saturday, Dec. 9. On Dec. 7, they beat 2A Leading Edge Academy - Gilbert 78-61 before losing 51-38 against 3A Valley Christian High School on Dec. 8. It finished with a 61-55 loss at Flagstaff High School.

The team traveled to Washington High School on Tuesday, Dec. 12, winning 82-64.

*This story was updated on Wednesday, Dec. 12, with the scores from the teams' games against Washington High School.

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