|Written by Brian Bergner|
|Thursday, 01 March 2012 00:00|
A dream season came to a sudden end Friday, Feb. 24, at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale as the Cowboys were unable to fend off Page High School in the state semifinals, losing 60-45.
Page went on to beat No. 7 Winslow High School for the Division III state title Saturday, Feb. 25, 46-38.
The loss brought tears of sadness and frustration as the girls basketball team from Camp Verde High School knew it was the end of the road for the Cowboys when the final buzzer sounded in front of over 6,000 fans.
“It was a tough loss but a great season. I was angry and sad at the same time, but then I realized how much fun I had throughout the season with the best team possible. I know that we could have done better because our tenacious defense slowed down in the last half,” junior Katie Wilson said.
Camp Verde won its first two games of the Division III state basketball tournament then beat No. 21 Chinle High School 49-37 on Feb. 21 to earn the right to play in the final four.
The Cowboys, ranked No. 13 heading into play Friday, outscored the Sand Devils 8-3 in the first quarter of play in front of several thousand Holbrook High School fans cheering for Page. Holbrook was slated to play in the game after Camp Verde and Page.
Junior Donnie Buss scored two quick baskets to put the Cowboys up 4-0, then senior center Lila Hickey added a bucket to put the Cowboys up 6-0.
Page didn’t score a basket until 1:37 left to go in the first quarter, making it an 8-3 affair.
In the second quarter, the Sand Devils outscored Camp Verde 13-9 but the Cowboys still led 17-16 at halftime.
The Sand Devils struggled from the field in the first half, but in the second half, Page outscored the Cowboys 44-28, hitting several three-point baskets along the way.
“I told my girls at halftime that they are the best shooting team in the state — now go out and prove it,” Page Head Coach Justin Smith said in an interview after the game Friday.
Led by senior Erin West, Page gave the Cowboys fits on both ends of the court and went on to win by the 15-point margin.
Foul trouble crept up on the Cowboys in the second half, which helped the Sand Devils’ cause. Camp Verde’s 21 turnovers against Page didn’t help either.
With 3:22 to go in the game and Camp Verde trailing 49-40, West hit another big three for the Sand Devils, which ended up being the dagger Page needed.
Standouts for Camp Verde included junior Amanda Showers, who had 13 points, five assists and two steals, while Hickey had 10 points and four rebounds. Buss had eight points and one assist while Wilson had four points and six rebounds.
With the loss to Page, the Cowboys wrap up the 2011-2012 season with a 27-8 overall record.