Defense Key To Beating Scottsdale Dons

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Sporting a season-opening 51-33 win over Notre Dame, the Lady Longhorns return to Wilson Dome at 7 p.m. Tuesday to host the Scottsdale Coronado Dons.

The varsity skirmish will be preceded by freshmen (4 p.m.) and jayvee games (5:30 p.m.).

In a preseason scrimmage Nov. 19 at Phoenix Christian and the Nov. 22 clash against Notre Dame, the big three of Krystal McRae, Britney Owens and Tracy Fitzpatrick spearheaded the Lady Horn offense.

According to Coach Rory Huff, the trio have been successful mostly because they've been able to muscle their way down low for their points.

"They worked hard inside," he said.

Against Notre Dame, McRae scored a team-high 12 points, Fitzpatrick contributed 11 and Owens had 10.

In battling Coronado, the three will have to concentrate more on their defense than they do on scoring points.

A stiff defense will be needed because Coronado has on its roster a 6-foot, 1-inch front court player who is averaging 25 points per game.

"In a game last week, her team scored a total of 31 points and she had 25 of them," Huff said.

The past weekend, the coach acquired a game tape of Coronado in action and was viewing it to devise a game plan to try and slow the Scottsdale star.

Following the hardwood showdown against Coronado, the Lady Horns travel Dec. 2 to Laughlin for the 12-team River Valley Invitational Tournament.

During the first two days, teams will participate in pool play that will be used to seed them into a double-elimination tournament finale. Among the tournament favorites are Yuma, Cibola, Higley, Mohave and Laughlin.

Huff anticipates the tournament will offer the early season challenges his team needs.

"We could play as many as six games in three days," he said.

Those games will improve individual conditioning and allow the players the opportunity to iron out the kinks in their floor play before the team returns to regular-season action against Pinnacle (Dec. 10) and Apache Junction (Dec 11).

Also on the Lady Horn agenda is the annual Payson Holiday Hoops Invitational, Dec. 28 and 29. Since the inception of the tournament seven years ago, it has annually drawn some of the finest teams in the state. A newcomer this year, Class 5A Kingman, could battle the likes of pretournament favorites Flagstaff Sinagua and Tuba City for honors.

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