Short-handed Camp Verde boys basketball opens season with road win

Camp Verde senior Ismael Hogan dribbles the ball up the court during the Cowboys’ scrimmage against Cocoino on Nov. 16 at home. VVN/James Kelley

Camp Verde senior Ismael Hogan dribbles the ball up the court during the Cowboys’ scrimmage against Cocoino on Nov. 16 at home. VVN/James Kelley

Camp Verde High boys basketball opened the season short handed but has its eye on returning to the playoffs.

The Cowboys beat Mayer 78-41 on the road on Tuesday in the season opener.

Camp Verde started the season without the services of junior shooting guard Jason Collier and senior center Dayton Smith

Head coach Daniel Wall said the Cowboys look good to start the season.

“We’re still in the early stages and we’ve had some injuries early in the season and just a few things like that to kinda work through but it was fun to see most of our group out there together,” Wall said. “We’re still waiting on Jason and Dayton to get our full group back but a lot of positive things early in the year.”

Camp Verde tipped off with scrimmages against Ash Fork and Coconino last Friday.

“Like any early season competition, there’s a lot of things to work on but gosh we had a lot of positives (Friday) too I really was pleased with our effort, played really hard, execution wasn’t great (Friday) but that will get better as we go,” Wall said. “But defensive effort and just overall intensity from everybody was great.”

Last year Collier was second team All-Region and Wall was Central coach of the year. Junior shooting guard/small forward Abelardo Gonzalez was honorable mention.

The Cowboys did lose Chase Decker and Ryan Loza, honorable mention All-Central last season, to graduation.

Wall said the returning players have worked hard.

“They’ve spent a lot of time on their game in the offseason so all those kids have been in our gym in the spring, in the town gym in the spring, over in Cottonwood just playing,” Wall said. “They’ve been in the weight room working on their bodies a little bit too and just so that ability to just be a little bigger and more physical really helped us (Friday) defensively, that’s where I saw the biggest change so far.”

This year the region added some teams, North Pointe Prep, Scottsdale Prep and Valley Lutheran but Wall thinks the Cowboys will hold their own.

“It’ll be competitive, there’s some good teams this year but I think we ought to be right in the mix, competing with most teams, most nights,” Wall said. “We should have a chance to be very, very competitive this year.”

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