PRESCOTT VALLEY - The Valley Christian girls basketball team was like a locomotive on Saturday.
The Trojans took awhile to get going, but by the third quarter, there was nothing stopping them.
Valley Christian led by only two points at intermission, but opened the second half on a 10-1 run and cruised to a 53-35 victory over Thatcher in the 2A state championship at Tim’s Toyota Center.
It was the team’s second consecutive state championship.
“If you watched our warm-ups, we were long, we were short, we were all over the place,” senior guard Ashton Wolf said. “We didn’t get into the flow until right around the end of the first half.”
Wolf led Valley Christian with 24 points, and Tana Kemmer added 15, including three 3-pointers in the first nine minutes of the second half to help secure the victory. All of her points came from downtown.
“Tana has hit big threes for us all year,” Valley Christian coach Scott Timmer said. “No one spends more time in the gym shooting. She’s probably shot an extra 5,000 shots since the season started, and it paid off in the tournament this weekend.”
Timmer told his players to focus on four-minute intervals once the second half began. He intentionally called a timeout halfway through each quarter so the team wouldn’t look too far ahead.
“We didn’t want it to be this big, huge task,” Timmer said. “And they won each four-minute segment in the second half.”
The Trojans played smothering defense inside, as Luann Bone had seven blocks and Stacey Jones added four. Thatcher only scored five points in the fourth quarter.
“Both those girls like jumping rope and working hard on their vertical jump, and I think it paid off today,” Timmer said.
Wolf said the team reached a crossroads late in the season. Valley Christian started the year 18-0, but lost two of their final eight games entering the tournament.
The team chemistry was dwindling, but once the tournament began, the team came together.
“We were kind of falling apart," Wolf said. "We had to re-establish what we were shooting for and just do it together."