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Sat, Dec. 14

Camp Verde girls basketball eyes longer tourney run

Camp Verde junior Maya Hedges (22) and CV senior Tanna Decker (1) go for a rebound during the Cowboys’ scrimmage against Payson on Friday at home. VVN/James Kelley

Camp Verde junior Maya Hedges (22) and CV senior Tanna Decker (1) go for a rebound during the Cowboys’ scrimmage against Payson on Friday at home. VVN/James Kelley

Already its a regular participant in the state tournament, led by a talented senior class, Camp Verde High girls basketball is looking for more.

The Cowboys return two first team All-Central region performers from a year ago, including Region Offensive Player of the Year Tanna Decker, a senior point guard this year, and two honorable mention All-Region performers.

“Potentially they look like they’re able to compete very well,” CV head coach Mark Showers said. “Part of that is going to be executing. One of the problems we had (Friday) night is that Payson pushed us physically. They just got after us physically and when they did that we didn’t execute very well. So hopefully as we continue to play teams that push us around a little bit, we’ll execute a little bit better and just keep improving.”

On Friday the Cowboys hosted Ash Fork and Payson for preseason scrimmages.

“They went pretty well,” Showers said. “It was exactly what we hoped it would be. We had an opportunity to play against a team that was physical and played some man to man against us and we were able to work on some things that have been a little weak and gave us a good look at our team.”

Though the Cowboys lost All-Central second teamer Hope Ontiveros to graduation, they return Decker and senior center Jacy Finley from the first team and honorable mention Maya Hedges, a junior shooting guard, and Shelly Warfield, a sophomore guard.

Half of the Cowboys’ roster is from the class of 2020.

“Oh they’ve been phenomenal,” Showers said about the seniors. “Three of them have started for four years, so they’ve been a really strong group and we’re just hoping to finish their senior year on a solid note.”

The Cowboys have fallen in the first round of the state tournament in 2017, 2018 and 2019 though.

“They just expect to go, which is a good thing but not moving up in the different rounds is difficult and hopefully they’re hungry enough to continue to win once we get to the playoffs because we plan on getting back there,” Showers said.

Not just the seniors have impressed.

“The sophomore and junior kids have been playing well,” Showers said. “The whole group has played at a higher intensity level so far in practice, they’ve played with more enthusiasm, so really it just depends on how much better they can get.”

Valley Lutheran, who edged the Cowboys by a game last year, figure to battle CV for the Central Region title again.

“Valley Lutheran is the team to beat again this year, just like last year,” Showers said. “So we have to prepare to play against a physical, talented team and just like (Friday) night, Valley Lutheran is going to push us around and we have to be prepared to show up and push back.”

The Cowboys will play Holbrook and could see defending state champion Alchesay and Valley Sanders in the Round Valley Roundball Shootout next month. Holbrook was second last year in the 3A and Valley Sanders was in the Elite Eight.

“Alchesay is going to be in the top, Valley Sanders is going to be in the top again and it looks like we may get a chance to play Valley Sanders at the Round Valley tournament and also we’ll get a chance to play Holbrook, who played in the state 3A finals last year, so we’re pretty excited about that,” Showers said.

UP NEXT

The Cowboys open the season at Chino Valley on Tuesday. Their home opener is Dec. 5 against Anthem Prep at 5:30 p.m.

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