Last Saturday was the first time this season fans got to see just how good or bad the Lady Sand Devils were.
The Lady Sand Devils remained undefeated in their first six games of the season and have outscored their less-talented opponents 395-123 in those games.
But Saturday, the Lady Sand Devils took on the No. 1 ranked Snowflake Lobos, who were 9-0 going into Saturday’s game. Both the Sand Devils and Lobos have very strong defenses.
It was evident from the game’s opening minute that the Lady Lobos were disciplined and well-coached.
The Sand Devils played their patented full-court pressure defense and the Lobos managed it well. At least for the first two and a half quarters.
Page High junior Miquedah Taliman (20) got the first score of the game after stealing a Lobo pass and returning it to Lobos end of the court for the lay-up.
The Sand Devils led 8-4 at the end of the first quarter, and maintained the lead until late in the second quarter when a Lobos 3-pointer gave Snowflake a 14-12 lead. The Sand Devils regained the lead 17-16 going into halftime.
Halfway through the third quarter, it became evident that the Sand Devils fitness was stronger than that of the Lobos and Page used it to their advantage and outpaced the Lobos.
Superior fitness is another trademark of the Lady Sand Devils that goes back seven or eight years.
Sand Devils fans have seen team, time and again, outplay their opponents by a considerable margin during the games’ last 12 minutes. The Lady Sand Devils outscored the Lobos 8-3 in the third quarter.
The disciplined Lobos played patient offense and used it to find quality shots during the first three quarters, but their patience seemed to evaporate in the fourth quarter when they found themselves trailing the Sand Devils by eight points.
Their shots became more desperate and their actions more sporadic. In contrast, the Lady Sand Devils maintained their steady calm, and continued with their offensive plan of getting the ball into senior center Torrance Begay (50).
In the seasons’ greatest contest so far, the Lady Sand Devils showed themselves to be the talented, disciplined teams their fans suspected and expected them to be. They went on to defeated the previously undefeated Lobos 40-21.
Begay was the game’s leading scorer with 16 points. Taliman had seven points, senior Emma Yazzie (3) had five and senior Neve Redhair (10) had four points.
The boys basketball team fell to 4-3 overall after posting a heartbreaking 76-69 loss to the Snowflake Lobos Saturday.
The Lobos, who came into the game with a 9-0 record and ranked number 2, were the most competitive team the Sand Devils have faced this season. Both teams played hustle offense and scrappy defense.
Page High senior Robert Smith (1) directed the Sand Devils offense, effectively penetrating the Lobos defense then dishing off to senior captain Stuart Sandall (34) or senior Jonah Holiday (25) who would finish the play.
The Lobos, who have several tall players, including their 6-foot-5 center McKay Wood have had a lot of success from their inside game, but their offense was greatly altered playing against the 6-foot-10 Sandall who is averaging five blocked shots per game. The Sand Devils jumped out to a 13-5 lead and maintained a 17-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But the Lobos came roaring back in the opening minutes of the second quarter, outscoring Page 8-0, taking a 21-17 lead before the seemingly dazed Sand Devils snapped out of it.
The Sand Devils regained their composure, settled back into their game plan to decrease the Lobo’s lead 31-30 at halftime.
Just as they had done in the second quarter, the Lobos dominated the opening half of the third quarter, adding seven quick points to Page’s zero. With assists from Smith, Sandall added seven points to the Lobos two, tying the game at 40 with 3:15 remaining in the third quarter.
With offensive contributions from sophomore point guard Orlandon Yazzie (3), sophomore guard Nolan McCormick (11) and Holiday, the Sand Devils outscored the Lobos, carrying a 52-48 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lobos retook the lead 60-58 with five minutes left in the game. The Lobos led 69-63 with 1:11 in the game when Yazzie hit a three-pointer, while getting fouled.
After dropping in the foul shot, the Sand Devils only trailed by two.
In an attempt to regain possession, the Sand Devils fouled the Lobos players sending them to the foul line, hoping they’d miss their shots and give Page the opportunity to get the rebound and get some shots as the game’s final seconds ticked off.
But the Lobos hit their free throws and went on to win 76-69, a score that betrays just how close the game really was.
Sandall was the leading scorer with 25, followed by Holiday who had 15. McCornick had eight, Yazzie and senior point guard Dahntay Dugi (15) each had six and Smith had five.
This week is a busy week for both basketball teams. They play St. Michael Thursday, Fountain Hills Friday and Kingman Saturday. All games are at home.
Girls soccer plays Glendale Prep in Peoria Wednesday and Kingman in Kingman Saturday.
Boys soccer plays Glendale Prep in Page on Wednesday and Parker in Parker on Saturday.