Miner Webster wins 700th as Highland girls top Mesquite - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Miner Webster wins 700th as Highland girls top Mesquite

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:38 pm | Updated: 1:45 pm, Thu Aug 8, 2013.

A milestone was made on Thursday night. Fortunately for everyone other than the man of honor, details will soon be forgotten.

Sloppy at times and a struggle to make shots all around, Highland still pulled away in the seconds quarter and defeated Mesquite, 44-21, at Highland High.

It was Highland coach Miner Webster's 700th career victory spanning 25 years (five at Gilbert, 20 at Highland), the fourth coach in Arizona high school basketball history - boys or girls - to reach that figure.

He was honored with plaques, speeches, t-shirts and more by the school administration, plus a couple hundred former players, and current and former parents.

"After winning it makes it easier," he said of the postgame hoopla.

Getting there, however, wasn't without a few winces. Both teams struggled with turnovers throughout the game. Highland (20-2) also had trouble making shots in the first half for stretches, but not as much as Mesquite (12-10).

Wildcats coach Candice Gonzales - who played for Webster during the two state title teams at Gilbert High in the early 1990s - spoke afterward of her team's effort and scrappiness on defense. But there was no getting around the team's 15 percent shooting in the first half (Mesquite didn't get its first field goal until midway through the second quarter).

Gonzales also noted her team's ample opportunities off those Highland turnovers and some wide-open looks, but they never fell.  It was 28-8 in favor of Highland at halftime and 39-16 after three quarters.

Olivia Lucero had 12 points for the Hawks and Liz Rudd added 10, while Megan Brown's seven points and scrappy play were also pivotal in the middle two quarters. Cecily Wilson led Mesquite with eight points and, in the process, had no fewer than a half-dozen steals with her quick hands and athleticism.

"We've done some good things and some things better lately," she said. "You just have to make shots."

With five games left, this young Mesquite squad still has a reasonable chance to earn a spot in the Section 2 tournament as the Wildcats face Corona del Sol on Friday.

Highland travels to Skyline for its third game in three days in its continuing quest for a top seed in the section tournament and the state tournament in the next couple weeks.

"The last two nights we've done a lot of good things and improved a few things but we have a long way to go," Webster said after 45 minutes of postgame handshakes, hugs and pictures. "We have a lot of things to clean up offensively."

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