Lady Wranglers start 0 - 2 in region action

By Kevin Cloe

Sun Correspondent/Photographer

They entered 3A West Region action early last week with hopes of contending for a state playoff spot and maybe a second-place finish in the region standings.

However, Wickenburg High School’s girls basketball team ran into two roadblocks toward that goal last week when they opened region competition with losses to Chino Valley (37-32) and Kingman (57-45).

They hope to rebound this week when they face two more region opponents, both which are ranked lower than the Lady Wranglers. They hosted Kingman Academy Tuesday night and will travel to River Valley this Thursday, Jan. 16. Then they will host heavily favored Northwest Christian at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday, Jan. 21.

The trip to Northwest Christian will mark the halfway point of the 10-game region schedule, a time when the Lady Wranglers will focus more intently on their chances to qualify for the state playoffs. That qualification would require placing first or second in the region standings or finishing the regular season ranked No. 24 or better in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s 3A Conference power point standings.

Before last week’s losses, Coach Kevin Cushman’s girls held the No. 24 position in those rankings but slipped to No. 33 (with an 8-8 season record and an 0-2 region mark) by the end of last week. There are 41 teams in the 3A Conference.

Chino Valley 37,

Lady Wranglers 32

A low-scoring first half ended with the Lady Wranglers holding a 12-5 lead after they missed their first 11 shots to start the second quarter and finished the first 16 minutes of play shooting only 15 percent of the their shots from the floor.

Chino Valley came out of the halftime locker room charged up and outscored the Lady Wranglers 16-11 in the first eight minutes to cut the margin to two points, 23-21. Then they duplicated that same effort in the fourth quarter, taking the immediate lead with seven unanswered points and maintaining their five-point margin to the end.

Sophomore guard Katie Cushman led the Lady Wranglers in the game with 14 points — five points better than her season average. Her backcourt teammate, sophomore Clare Peterson, backed up that effort with seven points of her own.

Kingman 57,

Lady Wranglers 45

Katie Cushman again led the Lady Wranglers with her 17-point production, while four of her teammates — Clare Peterson, senior Sadie White, junior Kelsey Hershkowitz, and freshman Anna Olson — shared their supporting roles with six points each.

In that contest, the hosting Lady Bulldogs jumped out to 32-21 lead at halftime; opened up the spread with a 15-6 advantage in the third period; and then held off an 18-10 rally by the Lady Wranglers in the fourth period.

In the two games last week, the Lady Wranglers shot a lower percentage than their season average from the floor. The 24 percent shooting average against Kingman followed the 22 percent level against Chino Valley — both under their season average of 27 percent.

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