PRESCOTT VALLEY — Whatever traces that were left from a little demon are gone for good.
A school with an illustrious history of athletic championships hadn’t corralled one in girls basketball, but there were Valley Christian’s girls wearing Burger King-esque crowns on their head, 2A winners after a 33-28 victory against Pima on Saturday afternoon in the title game at Tim’s Toyota Center.
The undefeated season was completed for No. 1 Valley Christian, and any residual misery from last year’s shocking semifinals outcome faded away forever.
Valley Christian (30-0) was here in 2003 but fell short. Then in 2009, the Trojans lost to St. Johns in a semifinal game on a near-half court shot at the regulation buzzer.
“This year we never worried about last year’s ending,” said Trojans senior Quinn Robertson, one of only two seniors on this year’s team. “Obviously we were reminded of the feeling, but every night we went out and finished.”
No shock this time. Only awe.
Points were a precious commodity in the first title game of the day, and it was Valley Christian’s lowest offensive point total of the season, but it the Trojans’ trap and full-court pressure defense forced Pima into bundles of turnovers.
V.C.’s lead never reached double digits, but Pima (29-5) also never got within one possession.
Junior Ashton Wolf went to a point guard camp last summer to better strengthen her ability to run a team. Her ball skills and defense proved invaluable on Saturday. The Trojans withstood Pima’s zone and managed extra possessions with rebounding and by milking the clock late with the ball in Wolf’s hands.
The back-breaker came from Trojans’ freshman wing Tana Kemmer, who nailed a 3-pointer from the corner with five minutes left in regulation for a 31-24 lead.
“She just lets them fly,” Robertson said of Kemmer.
“I like it when it goes in,” V.C. coach Scott Timmer said with a smile.
The Trojans got most of their points in transition or with high-low passes inside. With
Wolf and Stacey Jones led V.C. with seven points each. Kemmer and Robertson each had six. Kitt Bryce (Pima) led all scorers with 11 points but the Roughriders had more than 20 turnovers as they struggled to handle the ball against Valley Christian’s swarming trap.
“We’ve had some good teams which came up a little short in the past,” Timmer said. “We talked about teams in the past and mistakes they made.”
Another made a few more this time, and the Trojans eventually swarmed to their first trophy while residual disappointments from the past vanished for good.