Pieces in Place<br><i>Camp verde girls return most experienced hoops team in Valley</i>

“We’ve really worked hard this summer on a jumper inside. She’s got a good vertical leap. She’s really hard to stop.”

Seven players in all return with at least a year’s worth of varsity experience.

Senior Amanda Rise started about 50-60 percent of games a year ago and will be the team’s center. “She’s got a lot of experience and a big, strong body,” coach Showers said.

“We’re looking for her to give us a lot of help in the post.”

Hannah Stanfield, Tiffani Mathews, Ashley Hollamon, Megan Reddell and Shannon Riley comprise the junior class. Hollamon and Riley move up from the JV squad.

Stanfield and Hollamon will provide depth at forward. Mathews, Reddell and Riley are guards. Mathews and Reddell are the team’s defensive specialists, though Showers hopes to see more offense from the pair.

“Megan is already producing more offense in practice than she did all last year,” Showers said. “That’s very good news. If Megan turns it up a notch on offense, then we’re good.”

Dana Riley and Angel Allen will join Showers as sophomores on varsity. Both were called up to varsity at the end of last season due to injuries to other players. Dana Riley will work some at point guard. Allen is another gritty defender who has improved on offense as well.

“We’ve got a pretty athletic group,” Showers said.

If all goes as expected, Camp Verde and Chino should be at the head of the West Region class again this year. The Cowboys finished second behind their rivals a year ago but pushed the Cougars to overtime twice, including the controversial finish in the region tournament title game.

But Camp Verde-Chino match-ups are still a long ways off (Jan. 10 and Jan. 23). The Cowboys will tackle Northwest Community Christian, Mogollon and other non-region foes in the Dec. 5-7 River Valley tournament over the next couple weeks.

West Region opponents Wickenburg and Parker appear before the Christmas break. The Cowboys will host the annual Yvonne Johnson Memorial tournament on Dec. 27-28.

One player who is noticeably absent from the CVHS lineup this season is Michelle Toogood. The senior, who missed much of last year with a leg injury, has opted not to come out for hoops this time around. Several logistical factors played into her decision, Showers said, include a family move to Sedona.

“I’m sad about it,” coach Showers said. “She adds that much more to our depth chart. She makes us almost impenetrable on defense. She gives us that extra something.”

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