The three losses and one win at the Wickenburg Tournament this past weekend wasn’t the brightly wrapped Christmas gift the Lady Longhorns basketball team hoped for, but it did provide the young team with crucial playing time.
Coach Kelly Krieg said the tournament was a good learning experience that gave several underclassmen the opportunity to play varsity for the first time.
In fact, the freshmen, sophomores and juniors led the team for most of the four games over the weekend.
In their final game of the tournament, against Phoenix Christian, freshmen Emmee Ashby led with nine points in her first varsity game of the season.
“She really showed flashes of what she can be, which is exciting,” Krieg said.
With the underclassmen stepping up, the team is showing signs of improvement, especially on the defensive end.
The Lady Horns started the tournament with a win against Wickenburg on Friday.
Krieg said the team worked well together and played hard.
Sophomores Chioya Hill and Taylor Rizza each finished with eight points, while senior Kelsey Waugh had five and junior Jaymi Carlen and sophomore Molly Davis each had four. The final score was 35-22.
Later in the day, the Longhorns lost to Joy Christian, 54-29.
“Carlen played really well and finished with 14 points while Davis finished with six and Rizza, four,” Krieg said.
“Hill hurt her ankle early on in this game, which really hurt us as she is a leader at both ends of the floor.”
With Hill out, the Lady Horns’ third game on Friday against Youngker fizzled. The team lost 53-35.
“Davis really played well, hitting two three-pointers and finishing with 10 points,” Krieg said. “Rizza, who had a very good tournament, had eight points, as did Carlen. Laine O’Donnell had four points and made the most of her play time throughout the tournament.”
The Longhorns final game on Saturday against Phoenix Christian also ended in defeat, at 38-28.
“I really felt we played good defense in this game and at one point we were down by 12, but came back to have the lead,” Krieg said. Unfortunately, the team could not hold onto the lead long enough.
Although the Lady Horns’ overall record for the season now sits at 3-7, Krieg said the tournament was a great opportunity for underclass players Liz Harpe, Emmee Ashby and Harley Turney to get a taste of varsity action.