The girls’ basketball team from Buckeye High has been successful this season by sticking together as a unit, with a one-for-all, all-for-one mentality.
The Hawks are going to need to play the same way as they approach their biggest game of the year.
With a 39-29 victory over Kingman in Tuesday’s (Feb. 25) Division II quarterfinals at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, 12th-seeded Buckeye advances to Thursday’s (Feb. 27) semifinals against the No. 1 seed, Chandler Seton Catholic. Tipoff is 6 p.m.
“They (Seton) are a good team and we’re going to have to come out and play hard,’’ said Buckeye coach Regina Early.
The coach added that Buckeye (27-4) controlled 13th-seeded Kingman (18-4) “with our defense, the girls staying together and rebounding.’’
The Hawks struggled in the rebounding department early in the season, but have done a much better job in the second half, Early said.
Buckeye had success against Kingman with the inside-outside combination of post player Allies Fuller and guard Baylee Wirtzberger. They both scored 17 points, and Wirtzberger connected on a pair of 3-point shots.
Buckeye led by nine points at the end of the first quarter and eight at halftime. The lead increased to 12 with a pair of early baskets in the third period, but Kingman appeared as it was going to make a run with three straight baskets, one by Taylor Reed and two by Alison Owen.
Fuller than scored off an inbounds pass and converted a 3-point play, and Wirtzberger hit a 3 to get the lead back up to double digits.
Another key individual effort came from Buckeye point guard Dallas Jones.
She managed just one point, but was very instrumental in running the offense with her passing, and she played good defense by knocking the ball away on several occasions.