Ontiveros leads Cowboys over Scorpions with huge first half

Camp Verde junior guard Nieja Garner passes the ball into the paint Thursday night against Sedona Red Rock. Garner finished with 15 points for the Cowboys. (Photo by Greg Macafee

Camp Verde junior guard Nieja Garner passes the ball into the paint Thursday night against Sedona Red Rock. Garner finished with 15 points for the Cowboys. (Photo by Greg Macafee

SEDONA- When it comes to senior point guard Gabby Ontiveros, its simple, you just can't leave her open.

Thursday night, the Sedona Red Rock Scorpions did just that. Ontiveros scored all 11 of Camp Verde's first quarter points, and went on to score 17 through the first half, as the Cowboys held off the Scorpions in the second half for a 53-45 victory.

After a huge first-half for the senior sharp-shooter, Sedona Red Rock dedicated a defender to shutting her down in the second half.

Camp Verde Head Coach Mark Showers said that just opened things up for the rest of his team.

"They put someone on her full-time in the second half which limited her shot opportunities but the nice thing was when they did that it opened up the middle of their zone and we were able to get some easy scores," Showers said.

Ontiveros was held to just four points but it was the rest of her team stepping up to the occasion. Junior guard Nieja Garner stepped up in the second-half drilling two threes and a couple lay-ups to finish with 15 points for the Cowboys.

Freshman Katrina Poelstra finished with eight, while senior Allee Drake chipped in for nine. Showers was glad to see his junior guard finally take some shots, and see success.

"We have been trying to get Nieja Garner to take shots, and she finally took a couple and hit a couple threes in the second half." Showers said.

It was a battle throughout the game, the Cowboys took a one-point lead into halftime. The Scorpions came out fast and strong in the second-half and held the Cowboys scoreless until Garner hit a free-throw at the 2:18 mark.

On the Cowboys next possession she drilled a three that brought the Cowboys within three.

After the Scorpions hit a three to go up six, Poelstra came up with a huge steal on the defensive end, and took it coast-to-coast to drill a lay-up with 4.2 seconds left in the quarter.

She missed the free-throw but the Cowboys were within four as the third quarter came to an end.

The Cowboys took the lead early in the fourth-quarter when Drake made a lay-up that put the Cowboys up 41-40 with 5:41 remaining. The two teams traded baskets to 43-43, and then Ontiveros reemerged scoring her first points of the second half, and hitting her 6th 3-pointer of the game, putting the Cowboys ahead 46-43. The Scorpions scored once more, and the Cowboys never looked back.

With 2:40 remaining, Drake was fouled underneath the hoop and was sent to the line. She missed both, but it was Poelstra who came up with the rebound, only to give it back to Drake who was fouled again. This time she drilled both.

As the Scorpions brought the ball back down the court, the Cowboys came up with another steal. Garner took the ball coast-to-coast for an easy two points.

The Cowboys held the Scorpions on their final possessions to hold off any type of come back from Sedona Red Rock. Showers said that his team can be tough to beat when they play defense like they did Thursday night.

"That is what we have to do." Showers said. "Were not very big but were athletic to a certain extent. Raiven (Alvey) is the one who starts the defense, if she plays strong and stays out of foul trouble were going to be tough, but she's got to play strong."

Alvey was one of many Cowboys putting pressure on the Scorpions throughout the night, as it was a total team defense victory.

The Cowboys now head into Winter Break before they host the Yvonne Johnson Memorial Shootout. They are scheduled to play against the Shadow Ridge Stallions on December 29 at 10 a.m.

The Stallions (1-9) are coming off a 47-28 loss to Alhambra, and are on a nine-game losing streak after winning their first game of the season back on November 23 against Northwest Christian.

-- Follow Greg Macafee on Twitter @greg_macafee and Instagram @VerdeValleyNews


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