Willmore scores 15, Lady T-birds lose to Coconino 49-33
BULLHEAD CITY — The Mohave Lady Thunderbirds outscored the Coconino Panthers by one point in the second half. However, a slow start to the game allowed the Panthers to run away with it early, resulting in a 49-33 loss on Tuesday night.
The loss drops the T-birds to 3-10 overall and 0-7 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association 4A Grand Canyon Region.
Coconino came out strong in the first quarter scoring 18 points to Mohave’s seven. The T-birds were having a hard time dealing with defensive pressure and getting the ball inside.
Senior forward Natalie Willmore would be the last to score in the second quarter after making a two from an inbound play. She would be the leading scorer for Mohave with 15. Senior guard Brianna Lipinski followed with 10.
At the half, Mohave was down 14-31.
After halftime words were said and the T-birds looked like a different team. They played a tighter press and defense, slowing Coconino’s offense down.
“Our whole plan was to be right in their face and stop the easy passes,” Mohave head coach Herb Williams said. “We were concerned when they were getting the ball down to their post players. So, we concentrated on coming out to stop that.”
Mohave stopped the bleeding in the third and held Coconino to just eight points, which they matched. However, turnovers and missed offensive opportunities meant the Panther lead couldn’t get cut down.
“In the third and fourth we missed easy shots to get that lead cut down to where it would be more manageable,” Williams said. “We always have a period where we throw the ball away. If we can get rid of those periods, we have a chance to win games.”
Despite being up 39-22 going into the fourth, the Panthers continued to press the T-birds as they still respected them offensively.
Willmore scored a 3-pointer assisted by freshman guard Alyssa Heath just before the fourth quarter ended to close out the game.
Sophomore point guard Kiana Manuelito from Coconino would be the leading scorer on the night with 17.
Up next Mohave will go on the road to play Flagstaff, who are 10-3 overall on Friday.