The Lady Sand Devils have returned home from the Las Vegas Holiday Classic tournament in Las Vegas a wiser and more experienced team, and better prepared for the challenges of the second half of the season, said girls basketball head coach Ryan Whitehorse, Friday night after his team’s victory over the Red Rock (Sedona) Scorpions.
The Lady Sand Devils gathered two wins and two losses at the Christmas tournament. In the first round of the tournament they lost to Centennial High School (Las Vegas), which is ranked No. 4 in the nation, and they lost the second round to Dimond High School (Anchorage), also another very talented team.
Whether its selecting teams to attend the Lake Powell Holiday Classic, or choosing tournaments for his team to attend during the Christmas break, coach Whitehorse say he’s looking for teams which are better than his team.
“It was a big learning experience for every one of us,” said coach Whitehorse. “We played against teams with players who are Division 1 bound. It’s good for my players to see how aggressive we need to be going into the post-season.”
Matching his team up with teams which may be better than his is a tactic coach Whitehorse has employed during his two years as head coach, with great results. Last season’s Lady Sand Devils were green and inexperienced and they made a lot of rookie mistakes, but by the end of the season his players made few mistakes, and they went on to win the #a championship.
They played smart and aggressively in the second half of the season, and throughout the post-season. Coach Whitehorse credits that to the experience his girls get at the big holiday tournaments.
In Friday night’s game against Red Rock, coach Whitehorse started his second squad, as scouting reports showed that his team was a good deal more athletic and talented than the Scorpions.
“This was to get my second team some learning experience,” he said. “In the post-season when the first team gets tired, or in foul trouble, I want them to be ready to go.”
Even with his second squad on the court, the Lady Sand Devils led 9-6 at the end of the first quarter.
The starters returned in the second quarter and ramped the score to 24-13 by half-time. The second half saw a mixture of first and second squads on the court. The final score read Sand Devils 53, Scorpions 22.
Camryn Nockideneh led the Sand Devils scorers with 11 points, followed by Mikaye Begay with eight, Ashlyn Adakai with seven and Amy Yellowman with six.
The Lady Sand Devils traveled to Kayenta Saturday night and defeated the 5-10 Mustangs 46-36.
They return home where they’ll compete against the Tuba City Warrior this Thursday at 6 p.m.