The Lady Roadrunners captured their second consecutive 3A east regional tournament championship on Friday night with a huge 48-16 win over second seed and visiting Winslow. The two teams had split their regular season match ups with Holbrook winning at home by a large margin in early January and the Bulldogs pulling out a three point win later in the month on their home court.
This meeting was an offensive struggle for both teams in the first half, which saw Holbrook on top 19-11 at the break. The third period saw the momentum sway in the home teams favor. Holbrook outscored Winslow 21-5 in the period with Elena Smith, Tyanna Johnson and Tyler Pacheco each hitting long range shots. Rayanna Wauneka hit the only three-point shot in the first half helping Holbrook build their halftime lead.
The Roadrunners led 40-16 after three periods, then shut out Winslow in the fourth period. “This was easily our best defensive performance of the season. It is good to have everyone back healthy and hopefully we can stay that way and make a good state tournament run. I saw the ladies flying around on defense like we used to earlier in the season. When our shots didn’t fall we got a little discouraged, but they responded on the defensive end finishing the game with 30 steals. That’s the kind of defense we need to play for the next four games and I know the ladies are capable of it,” stated Coach Greg Perkins.
Wauneka led Holbrook in scoring with 11 points. Twyla Clark added 8; Pacheco, 7; Madison Chappell, 7; Smith, 5; Megan Cummings, 5; Johnson, 3; and Tristen Ambrose finished with 2. Holbrook made 10 of 16 free throws and hit just four treys.
Winslow was led by Brianna Little with 8 points. Justin Butterfield added 6 and Sierra Singer finished with 2. The Bulldogs made three of eight charity tosses and hit one shot from distance.
Holbrook earned the title game with a dominating performance over Show Low on Thursday night. Playing at home as the top seed, the Birds built a 12-3 first period lead. In the second period Shiliane Gorman netted eight points with back-to-back three-point bombs, which sparked the team. Pacheco had one from distance and Johnson hit three from the same spot in the corner all in a few minutes, helping Holbrook open up a 32-14 halftime edge.
Chappell knocked down a pair of three point shots and Smith added another in the third with the Roadrunners opening up a 30-point lead heading to the fourth. With a running clock in the final period Cummings scored three of Holbrook’s four points to get the 60-28 win.
“Shilaine kind of broke the ice in the second period and once she made those shots, the flood gates kind of opened up for the others. We certainly will need to start quicker in games, but the team showed what they are capable of when we play well,” noted Perkins.
Johnson led the team with 13 points. Chappell and Gorman each added 12; Pacheco had, 5; Clark, 4; Matehya Aberle, 4; Smith, 3; Cummings, 3; Ambrose, 2; and Wauneka added 2. Holbrook made 11 of 13 free throws and hit nine shots from behind the arc.
With the two wins Holbrook improved their overall season mark to 24-6. They are the No. 5 seed in the state tournament and will face either No. 21 Yuma Catholic or most likely No. 12 Monument Valley on Friday night at a neutral site to be determined by the AIA.
With a win in that second round contest Holbrook would advance to Prescott for an elite eight match up played at 1 p.m. on Monday afternoon. That opponent could be either No. 4 Valley Christian, No. 13 Tuba City, or No. 20 Snowflake. Two wins over the weekend would mean a return trip to the final four for the Lady Roadrunners. A loss in any game from this point forward brings their season to a close.