School books are pretty much set aside during the holidays. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to learn if you’re on a high school basketball team.
And many of our Valley high school girls teams used tourney play during December to find out if they really have game.
Valley Christian HS in Chandler found their game was right where they need it to be as they proved to be stingy hosts in their own Invitational, sending Arizona Lutheran Academy home without the hardware. VC rolled to a 41-28 win in the championship, fueled by a game-high 16-point, 10-rebound performance by junior guard Ashton Wolf.
The game should have been more tightly contested since each team entered the tournament with 12-game winning streaks. Valley Christian is ranked No. 1 in 2A and Arizona Lutheran is ranked No. 3.
Arizona Lutheran also learned something. They know they’ve got some work to do before they return to Valley Christian on Friday for a regular-schedule re-match.
The Scottsdale Holiday Tournament provided another learning experience, this time for Desert Mountain HS.
The Wolves won the tournament, beating Horizon HS 59-48 in the finals. But they found out how difficult it is to win the tough games without Aeryana Beaudrie-nunn on the floor for the full game. The senior forward picked up a couple of quick fouls early and sat out much of the first quarter. She provides the hustle and rebounding (eight per game), as well as 11 points per outing.
But Brittan Bushman and Alaina Belzner picked up the slack for the Wolves, with 14 points each. Jennifer Lee hit a game-high 15 points for the Huskies.
In the Northwest Desert Classic, little ol’ 2A Pusch Ridge went unbeaten in pool play, only to run head-on into 5A-I Desert Ridge in the final, where Desert Ridge easily claimed the tourney title with a 55-23 win.
But the Pusch Ridge players, representing a student body of 300+, learned something about themselves as they beat down larger foes to earn a shot at the title. The Lady Lions were just seven points down at the half before succumbing to Pusch Ridge’s bigger players, scoring five points in the third quarter while Pusch ran up 31.
There was a lot of learnin’ opportunities during the holiday break. Now, we’ll find out who actually learned something to help them in January.