Central Region champs Camp Verde wins fifth straight
Camp Verde High boys basketball capped the regular season with their fifth straight win on Senior Night in a “weird game.”
The No. 10 Cowboys (24-3, 11-1 Central) beat No. 22 Scottsdale Prep 64-49 on Friday night at home.
“It was a weird game, it was a weird game, I was very pleased with our kids I thought that they did a great job (Friday) night,” CV head coach Daniel Wall said. “It was really fun to see how successful the seniors were coming out and playing tough on D. Xavier (Rios) hit the shot, we got a couple finishes inside from Dayton (Smith) and Nick (Stone). They did a great job of setting the tone for the night and then we had to battle through a couple of runs.”
After the Cowboys enjoyed a double-digit lead early on, Scottsdale Prep cut the lead down to 39-35 at the half. In the third quarter the Spartans held on to the ball without moving for a possession that lasted a few minutes only to turn the ball over and excite the crowd.
Then about halfway through the fourth quarter, CV got the lead back up to 10.
“Scottsdale Prep shot it really well in the first half and so we had to try and adjust a little bit,” Wall said. “We had the crazy third quarter, that was just very bizarre, but our kids responded really well and made some big plays out of that too so I’m just real pleased with our effort (Friday) night.”
The Cowboys started the game with their seniors and ended it that way. Camp Verde jumped out to a 14-9 lead with all the seniors in, then led 23-15 after the first quarter.
“We really wanted to this year, we just had kids that have been working super hard,” Wall said about starting the seniors. “I mean they’ve earned it, they deserved it. I mean they just played so hard in practice every day and just giving a lot to the program over these last four years so we definitely wanted to show our support.”
Junior shooting guard Jason Collier led the way with 21 points, including 16 in the first half and junior shooting guard/small forward Abe Gonzalez had 12.
Camp Verde won the Central Region championship, finishing three games ahead of second place Glendale Prep.
“That’s real exciting, it’s been a while since we’ve done that, so it’s a testament to the kids’ willingness to work in the offseason and put forth effort every day in practice and just keep getting better in their game,” Wall said. “It really shows the improvement that they’ve had over these past, particularly two and three years.”
By virtue of their first place finish, the Cowboys host the Central Region tournament. On Thursday they open up the tourney with the winner of the fourth and fifth place game in the semifinals. The championship game is Friday at 7 p.m.
Camp Verde heads into the post season riding a five game win streak and having won 14 of their last 15 games.
“I think we’re starting to come together as a group a little bit, kids are sharing the ball, we defended a lot better tonight, I thought, particularly on Tuesday at Northland Prep, so I feel like that’s coming along a little bit for our group too and hopefully we continue that up because this is kinda the right time to be coming together,” Wall said.