It was the perfect opponent for Surrey Garden to meet for the 1A state championship.
Phoenix Valley Lutheran provided motivation for the Knights as they won the school’s first state title on Monday, 74-53 at Jobing.com Arena.
It was Valley Lutheran that beat Surrey Garden in the region tournament. It was a bitter loss for the Gilbert school, which was hoping for another chance at the Flames.
“We definitely wanted to see those guys again,’’ senior forward Ivan Villegas said. “That loss really hit us hard.’’
Any advantage Valley Lutheran was hoping to get was gone in the first four minutes.
Surrey Garden (24-2) scored the first 12 points to quickly end any hopes the Flames had of slowing down the game. That’s how Valley Lutheran had beaten Surrey Garden in the region tournament. The Flames had no chance Monday.
The 6-foot-5 Villegas was virtually unstoppable, scoring 27 points. Sophomore Jeremy Hebden had 15 points with four 3-pointers, Travis Currier added 12 and 6-7 center Julian Langhoff had nine points and 11 rebounds.
The Knights used their height to their advantage, with Villegas getting easy shots over the shorter Flames. He and Langhoff also controlled the boards and limited the Flames (29-7) to virtually no second-chance points.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Valley Lutheran’s Adam Kosberg cut the lead to 12-6, but the game was never any closer. Surrey Garden led 24-10 at the end of the first quarter.
By Steve Burks
Salt River’s entire season was a roller-coaster ride, so why would the final game be any different?
The Eagles, in just their fourth season of competition in the Arizona Interscholastic Association, saw their breakthrough season end on Monday, as they fell 50-35 to Fredonia in the 1A girls state basketball championship at Jobing.com Arena.
“I’m 100 percent proud of my girls; they worked really hard,” Salt River coach Shawn Lytle said. “In preseason, in our region, we were picked to finish eighth out of 10 and to do what we’ve done this year is remarkable.”
This year was Salt River’s first trip to the 1A playoffs and the school’s first trophy (albeit the runner-up) finish.
Salt River had an up-and-down first half, but the second half was almost all a downer. After falling behind 9-0, the Eagles closed the period on a 9-4 run to get back into it. They trailed 16-9 early in the second before sophomore Breanna Grignon hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to 16-15 and put the Salt River fans on their feet. From there, however, Fredonia dominated, grabbing a 10-point lead at halftime and never letting the Eagles get within eight points the rest of the way.
Eagles point guard Shannon Stealy scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half, and Grignon added 12 points on four 3-pointers. Michelle Berraza was the only other Eagle to score, with six points.
Salt River’s official final record stands at 14-18, but the Eagles were forced to forfeit 12 of those games due to using an ineligible player.
On Monday, Fredonia was just too big up front, with 5-foot-10 center Jordan Goodnow scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Danielle Spendlove added 13 points.