The girls basketball season did not start out the way that Scottsdale Saguaro would have liked.
The Sabercats had little resemblance to the team that won the Division II championship a year ago. They struggled in the (Gilbert) Highland Tournament and were 2-3 in their first five games.
Then things started to turn around. Saguaro has gone on a six-game winning streak, including a 63-50 victory over visiting Phoenix Thunderbird on Wednesday night (Dec. 18), and is now 8-3.
“It’s nice to see things coming together and see us play the way we are capable of playing,’’ said coach Chris Young.
Saguaro got a 22-point first quarter and led by 10 points entering the second, but Young did not like the way his team was playing defense.
The defense picked up in the second half, and that helped Saguaro maintain its advantage.
One of the keys for the Sabercats was the defensive effort of Casey Rarrick on Thunderbird sharpshooter Ann Shikles.
Shikles scored 13 points in the first half, including three 3-pointers, but scored just two points after intermission, those coming on free throws.
“We played defense much better in the second half,’’ Young said. “Casey did a good job, and Jelani Huma did a great job knocking the ball away when they tried the pick and roll.’’
Saguaro had four players score in double figures.
Rarrick led the way with 18 points, including three 3-pointers. Huma had 15, including 13 in the second half. Post Naomi Reyes had 11 and Amber Rollins had 10.
Ozahria Fisher was the top scorer for Thunderbird (7-6) with 16 points and Shikles had 15.
“We only lost one player who had a lot of playing time last year, so everybody else is back and that’s good,’’ Young said. “We just need to keep improving.’’