A six-hour bus trip… and a longer ride back

Congrats, Lady Eagles!  You’ve done what other girls high school basketball teams have been unable to accomplish in the last  five years.

Flagstaff HS beat Page HS in a region game this week – on Page’s home court!  That hasn’t been done since January of 2005  when Sinagua HS snuck out of town with a one-point victory, 36-35.

For some of us who have coached basketball here in the Valley and had Page on our schedule, it brings back memories of long bus rides, about six hours, to play one of the best girls teams on this side of the state.   I remember loading our Notre Dame Prep teams on the bus at some ungodly hour in the morning to get there by early afternoon to play two games, one with the boys team and the other with the girls.

The gym was always cold, the players were weary from the trip, and the stands were loaded with anxious, cheering fans. And the Page teams never seemed to care if you were tired – they always made you run to keep up with their fast-break game.  If you got beat, the ride back was even longer.

In Page, high school basketball is the only game in town, and always followed closely by the entire community.  They love their basketball up there.

So, hats off to the Flagstaff Lady Eagles, who beat the Sand Devils 51-43 behind Kia Sandoval’s 16 points and another 13 from Ileana Johnson.   And kudos to a never-say-die defense that forced 21 turnovers, three straight turnovers in the waning minutes of the game to seal the win.

And somewhere out there, a shooting coach is using this game to show other students the importance of the free throw.  Flagstaff went 9-for-9 from the line in the fourth quarter.