Photo by Wendy Howell.
WILLIAMS, Ariz. — The Lady Vikings cruised to an easy 46-29 win Feb. 6, but again were stifled by the Grand Canyon Phantoms taking a 55-49 loss Feb. 8.
Despite the loss, the Lady Vikings advance to the 1A State Championship tournament this week.
“It’s been a roller coaster where we perform real well, then our offense struggles and then we play really well,” said head coach Phillip Echeverria.
Echeverria said when the team puts four quarters together, the team ends up on top.
The Phantoms pounded the Vikings in the first quarter leading 19-7. The Lady Vikes flipped the table in the second, outscoring the Phantoms 21-10. The Phantoms again outscored the Vikings 16-6 in the third with a late 15-10 surge by the Vikings in the fourth that wasn’t quite enough to take the win.
The Lady Vikings were led in scoring by Sydnee Mortensen who brought 25 points, over half the point for the team. Mortensen went 4 for 8 in 3-pointers, and 6 for 12 in field goals.
Aaliyah Alvarado led the Vikings with 14 rebounds, followed by Maegan Ford’s nine. Ford also had two blocked shots.
Amaryssa Orozco followed with 11, going 5 for 9 in field goals.
The No. 16 ranked Lady Vikings will face No. 1 Rock Point Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. at Bradshaw Mountain High School.
Despite a 25-point game for Will McMenamin, the Vikings could not hold off the Joseph City Wildcats, who effectively ended the season for the young team.
“It was a good tight game with Joseph City, we expected that,” said head coach Troy Mortensen. “That was a big loss.”
Latrell Kinlicheenie’s 27 points, Jay Edwards’ 20 points and Seth Hutchens’ 18 points powered the Wildcats over the Vikings in the 79-75 win.
The Vikings kept it close with the Wildcats in the first quarter 16-16, but the Wildcats left the second with a 3-point lead over the Vikings at the half. The back-and-forth through the final two quarters left the Vikings on the short-end with Joseph City outscoring them 39 to 38 for the win.
Ceasar Santana followed McMenamin in scoring for the Vikings with 15 points. Caleb Betz had 12 points and Stephen Gary had 10.
McMenamin went 9 for 11 in free throws, followed by Santana with 5 for 6. McMenamin had 17 rebounds. Zain Grantham had six assists and one steal.
Mortensen said if the team had won they would have been one of the top two in the 1A Central Region and would have headed to the state tournament.
The team did make the top 16, but according to AIA rules, each region is allocated two spots in the state tournament. The west region didn’t have two teams based on season records, and thus bumped the Vikings out of the final spot.
“We had our opportunities earlier in the year and we lost a few games,” Mortensen said. “We had games that we probably should have won that affected us in the end.”
Mortensen said injuries earlier in the season to Betz and David Lozano also hurt the young team.
Mogollon won the regional tournament and will advance to the state tournament. Ash Fork will also head to the state tournament.