Sand Devils boys and girls basketball teams defeat Alchesay
Page High School’s basketball teams are both playing well, look much improved over a month ago and have experienced recent win streaks. The boys team has won four of its last five games, the girls have won three of its last four games.
Their most recent wins came last Saturday against Alchesay on our home court. The boys won 50-41, the girls won 50-45.
This was the first time this season Page has played Alchesay.
The Sand Devils built a quick 7-0 lead in the game’s opening minutes, but three minutes into the game the Falcons hit a back-to-back field goal and 3-pointer, narrowing the Sand Devils lead to 2.
Alchesay never took the lead the entire game, but they got within 1 to 4 points on numerous occasions during the first half. At the end of the first quarter, the Sand Devils led 9 to 8. The Sand Devils increased their lead slightly – 17-14 – going into halftime. Halfway through the third period, the Sand Devils increased their lead to 9 points, which they maintained to the end of the third quarter and beyond. The final score read Sand Devils 50, Alchesay 41.
The Sand Devils are now 11-7 overall for the season and 5-2 in the 3A North.
Despite the recent wins, boys basketball Head Coach Justin Smith said his team still needs to improve in several areas before they’re ready for post-season competition.
“You’re not going to like my answer, but we need to improve on everything,” he said. “But, there’s still time to make those changes. We still got time to get there. Absolutely.”
There are several areas where Coach Smith finds pride in his team.
“We can be up, down, whatever and they just keep fighting,” he said. “They’re getting better, they’re learning.”
The Lady Sand Devils are also on a win streak, winning three of its last four games. They played an excellent game Saturday, defeating Alchesay 50-45.
It was a very exciting game that saw six lead changes and two ties.
The Falcons started off strong, quickly building a 6-point lead. But the lady Sand Devils roared back, hitting three 3-pointers in back-to-back-to-back possessions from Keira Jenkins and Kylie Benale. The 9-point jump edged them ahead and carried the wind of confidence back into their sails. The Lady Sand Devils led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The Falcons edged back, building to a 17-15 lead over the Sand Devils halfway through the second quarter. That’s when the Lady Sand Devils hit the gas and went on a 9-point scoring spree. Leikara Yazzie started the rally by hitting back-to-back jump shots.
Kylie Benale followed that with a 3-pointer and jump shot, giving Page a 24-17 lead they carried with them into halftime.
Though the first half of the game had been neck and neck, Alchesay never recovered from Yazzie’s and Benally’s 9-point scoring rally. The Sand Devils kept the lead for the remainder of the game, through Alchesay did edge to within 3 and 4 points at times.
The final score read Sand Devils 50, Alchesay 45.
Girls basketball Head Coach Celeste Claw is happy with the progress she sees her team making as the season progresses. She said the key to Saturday’s victory was its intensity and strong defense
“Defense creates our offense,” said Coach Claw. “With the girls being able to put the pressure on the ball and rotate when they need to, it really helped a lot in this game. Seeing it happen now, it’s exciting how our future will be.”
Having a strong defense is something Coach Claw preaches to her team all season long and something they practice every day.
“Our offense is improving, but we need to make sure the other team isn’t scoring. That’s the goal,” she said.
The Lady Sand Devils are now 12-8 overall and 3-4 in the 3A North.