It has been a season like no other. Our Women’s Division 1 & 2 Varsity Basketball Championship tournament happened last weekend and due to COVID-19 we had limited spectators. If you missed the live stream, we asked Coach Alicia Anderson from Trinity Christian School and Coach Daveda Taylor from Skyline Gila River School to give us a recap.
Division 1: Trinity Christian School vs. Ridgeline Academy
Starting with our Division 1 championship game, Trinity started out with 3 seniors (Avery Johns #15, Trinity Steidinger #3, Emma Shelabarger #11) and 2 sophomores (Zoe Libis #2 and Kenzie Johns #21) and hit it hard in the first quarter with a 6-0 lead and several key steals (Trinity Christian’s starters average 19 steals per game throughout the season). “We ran a man to man defense and moved the ball well on offense” said Coach Anderson. “Ridgeline has several good players that were driving a lot to the hole (Cayci Muessig #23, Maiya Kirkland #20 and Audrey Bhesania #24) and both Cayci and Audrey each hitting a key 3 pointer in the 1st and 3rd quarters”.
Trinity Christian ended the first quarter with a nice lead of 17-10. Ridgeline might have been in a very different spot, but struggled at the line with their free throws throughout the game (6 for 22). TCS went into the half with a 32-19 lead. Third quarter, Ridgeline caught a second wind and hit some key shots and had some great fast break runs to rack up an extra 16 points to Trinity’s 7 points. Fourth quarter began with 35-39 for Trinity with momentum in Ridgeline’s favor. Trinity Christian poured it on with a focused team effort in the fourth quarter with some clutch shots to outscore Ridgeline 18 to 5, making the final score 57 to 40. Definitely a well fought game on both sides.
The girls all played a great game, but there were a few who deserved an honorable mention. Cayci Muessig #23 and Maiya Kirkland #20 contributed most of Ridgeline’s points, scoring 15 each. On Trinity’s end, Avery Johns, #15 senior leading point guard, was chosen as the game’s MVP, with a double double scoring 13 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, 4 steals and 5 assists. Trinity’s Steidinger #3 senior forward contributed with another double double with 20 points, 11 rebounds, 1 block, 5 steals and 5 assists. Emma Shelabarger, senior guard, #11 added another 3 points, 4 steals, 5 assists and 7 rebounds. Sophomore shooting guard, Zoe Libis, racked up another 11 points, 5 steals and 5 assists and to top it off our Sophomore center, Kenzie Johns sealed the deal with 10 points, 4 blocks and 5 steals.
Coach’s Words of Wisdom
Coach Alicia Anderson has been the head coach of Girls Varsity Basketball at Trinity Christian School for 7 years. “As the master of basketball, Michael Jordan, says, “Talent wins games; teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Always be a team player first, no matter your role. Look to improve the team as a whole. Learn together when you lose and when you win. Give your talent as a gift to the team. When every player feels like they can contribute their strengths, the team collectively becomes a force”, she said.
Division 2: Skyline Gila River School vs. East Valley Athletes for Christ
Coach Taylor, who has been coaching for over 20 years at different high schools and for AAU club basketball teams knew it was going to be a tough championship game. “EVAC beat us twice during the season and we felt we didn’t play our best games. EVAC is a great team and very well coached and if we wanted to win a state championship, we had to play as a team. Before the championship game we really focused on playing good defense and communicating with each other on the court”, she said. Throughout the game it was a roller coaster of emotions. Both teams were playing very hard and both wanted to win. Skyline knew that if they were able to keep the score close, it would work out in their favor. “I believe the extra effort on defense gave us the boost we needed to become back-to-back state champions”, she said.
Wayann Whiterock was our MVP throughout the game. When our team needed to score points, she was the one we looked to. Madison Brown played exceptional on defense pressuring EVAC ball handlers the entire game and Aaliyah Castro all-around play throughout the game helped us win another state championship.
Words of encouragement
Coach Taylor tells her girls to “always continue to dedicate yourself each day to improving your basketball skills even when you become frustrated or overwhelmed. Your hard work will definitely pay off in the long run.”
Well done girls! We look forward to seeing you all back on the court for the next Basketball Season.