The Scottsdale Christian Eagles women’s basketball team took the short ride south to Paradise Valley for a Friday night game to determine the regular-season 2A Metro Region title against the Phoenix Country Day School Eagles. The PCDS squad boasted six wins in regional play along with eleven in the conference, and as hosts they looked forward to knocking SCA off their perch at the top of the Metro Region.
Early on it looked exactly like they would do so, as SCA struggled to convert lay-ups or on the drive throughout a lengthy stretch to open the first quarter, and PCDS looked to have an opportunity to slay the giant. Coach Bob Fredericks adjusted the offensive sets several times over the course of the first frame, and eventually freshman guard Sedona Nuessle was able to score from an alert entry pass provided by senior guard Kylie Hearn. Senior forward Payton Kolar jumped the passing lane and scored on the break while junior forward Hayden Hancock put back an offensive rebound, and finally SCA was off the doughnut.
The second quarter was similarly tense, as both seniors Kylie Hearn and Payton Kolar were in early foul trouble. Stalwart defending and boxing out from junior guard Jordan McDonald and Hayden Hancock meant that the PCDS offensive possessions were often lengthy but without productive scoring, while Kylie Hearn’s three-point shooting brought SCA the lead they would never relinquish. Payton Kolar earned three points the old-fashioned way, and Hayden Hancock continued to dominate the boards, so as the sun set, so did the hopes of a Phoenix Country Day regional title. The introduction of senior guard Jackie Melvin and her excellent shooting from the short corner, freshman forward Brooke Hancock and her rebounding, and Jordan McDonald’s three-point shooting gave SCA a 23-11 halftime lead.
Phoenix Country Day wasn’t dead yet, however, and as the SCA shooting woes continued and points were hard to come by, PCDS made all the visitors nervous by hanging around, penetrating to score just often enough to narrow the lead to single digits on several occasions. Good rebounding from Hayden Hancock and Payton Kolar was offset by the continued foul trouble for Payton Kolar and Kylie Hearn, and now turnovers also became a problem. SCA escaped a grim third quarter with a ten-point lead, 25-15 on strong defense and guts alone.
Coach Bob Fredericks used tactical substitutions throughout the final quarter, inserting sophomore guard Kathryn Dick and Jackie Melvin to provide sure hands on offense and improve the threat from the free throw line as well as give the starters with the most fouls a break on defense. Sedona Nuessle shelled the basket repeatedly from the three-point line, and Payton Kolar and Kylie Hearn both scored from the charity stripe, but it was the key blocked shot from Hayden Hancock, as well as an important help-side steal by Kylie Hearn that finally sealed the win and allowed the Eagles from SCA to top the 2A Metro Regional standings at the end of the regular season.
The Varsity Girls will play next in the 2A Metro Regional tournament at SCA on Wednesday at 4:30PM as tournament time has begun.