CAMP VERDE- The Camp Verde Girls Basketball team improved their record to 4-5 Friday night beating the Anthem Prep Eagles. The 2016 season hasn't been kind to the Cowboys thus far as they have suffered numerous injuries including the loss of starting center Dusty Dowdle, who injured her knee during the Phoenix Country Day School Basketball tournament.
"We have had a slew of injuries and it seems like after every other game we have to change up what we are doing and put people in new positions, so every game is kind of a new adventure," Camp Verde Head Coach Mark Showers said after Friday night's 51-33 win over Anthem Prep. "I started two freshman tonight, because we were struggling with players, but they showed up and they really helped out."
The veteran Camp Verde coach was speaking of Hope Ontiveros and Katrina Poelstra who both contributed throughout the game. Ontiveros has been a regular in the starting line-up since the beginning of the season and hit two big three's in the third quarter Friday night and finished with eight points, outscoring her older sister, Gabby, who finished with five. Poelstra only finished with one point but made her presence felt on the defensive end.
"She started tonight and she put some defensive pressure on #10 when she was tearing us up, she got a block and a steal right away," Showers said of his defensive freshman.
After a loss Wednesday to Glendale Prep, in which the Cowboys were 6-for-30 from right underneath the basket, Showers said the team made some adjustments heading into Friday's game and it seemed to pay off for the young and injured squad.
"In the Glendale game we played scared, we didn't take care of the basketball, and we couldn't buy a lay-up in fact we were 6-for-30 from right underneath the basket," Showers said. "We thought we have to do some other things so we can get some baskets. So we worked on our half-court trap so we pressed a little bit tonight and that gave us some opportunities to get some easy scores which is exactly what we wanted."
The Cowboys were stellar on the defensive end Friday night, holding the Eagles to six points in both the 2nd and 4th quarters. Other than the defensive pressure, Camp Verde seemed to improve all-around Friday night. Senior forward Allee Drake dropped 22 points for the Cowboys, filling the void that the Cowboys have lacked over the past couple of games. With the loss of Dowdle it's not just another paint presence that the Cowboys lost, but another leader on the floor that can't be replaced.
"Dusty not only works extremely hard and is our best rebounder, but you can't take away what kind of floor leadership she has," Showers said. "She does a great job with the kids on the floor, and without that there's kind of a void there. She's still helping us from the bench but her floor leadership is definitely missing."
Friday night the Cowboys also received down-low production from junior Nieja Garner, who turned in 10, and Marisa Presmyk who turned in four. With the slew of injuries that the Cowboys have endured thus far, younger players such as Poelstra and Ontiveros have been forced to step up but Showers mentioned one more freshman who has stepped into a varsity role this year.
"Another one were really proud of is Tyra Smith," Showers said. "She's another freshman and she's never really played basketball before. She's a soccer player and she stepped into a varsity role and is a back up to Raiven Alvey on defense and is just doing a great job."
Smith got her share of court time Friday night as the Cowboys cruised to their fourth victory of the season. The Cowboys played host to the River Valley Dust Devils on Saturday and will be at home again on Monday when they face off with the Northwest Christian Crusaders, which will be there fourth game in six days. After their match-up with the Crusaders the Cowboys will hit the road Thursday to face-off with their Verde Valley rivals the Sedona Red Rock Scorpions.