The Lady Vikings basketball team headed into the sectional playoffs against Tempe Prep on Tuesday on a roll, with wins for the last 10 games played. The game was played after the Williams-Grand Canyon News went to print.
The Lady Vikes completed the regular season with a record of 16-11 and 13-6 in PowerPoint games. That record placed them into the sectional tournament as the number three seed.
The Lady Vikings are seeded number 24 in their division, which qualifies them for the state playoffs, though that could change depending on the results of the sectional playoffs.
"We really won't know until Feb. 15 as to when or if we are going to qualify for the first round of the state playoffs," said head coach Philip Echeverria. "This sectional tournament is just the top four teams."
After a tough start to the season, the Lady Vikings really kicked their game into gear in the second half in a game against Sedona on Jan. 13. While the Lady Vikings ultimately lost by 24 points, Echeverria said that from the half, the girls seemed to have a better handle on the game.
"Sedona came out in the first half and put a whipping on us, really got after us defensively and offensively, we were down by 30, 32 points at halftime," he said. "When went in at halftime, I think something clicked there because we came out for the second half and really played some good basketball, and actually outscored them in the second half."
And that improvement continued through the next 10 games.
"We played great defense, man to man and offensively we had great movement where girls were recognizing things on the floor and not having to be told," Echeverria said. "This is something I was real proud of."
The Lady Vikes had two huge wins against Phoenix Country Day School and Joy Christian, which are two Valley private charter schools with good quality basketball teams.
"We came out and won a double overtime victory against Phoenix Country Day and then defeated Joy Christian that same week," Echeverria said. "I think those two games the girls started believing in themselves and each other and I think we've really molded together as one team."
He said what has been a pleasure to watch is the girls working as a team to come away with victories and how all the girls contribute in one way or another, whether they are in for a minute or three minutes or score a lot or just a few points.
"As coaches, we're just real proud of what we have seen out on the floor the past three or four weeks," Echeverria said. "We have 12 girls that are playing on the varsity squad right now and to single someone out would be wrong just because of the team effort that all the girls have put in together."
Echeverria expected the Feb. 11 game against Tempe Prep to be a tough one for the Lady Vikes - the Vikes lost to Tempe Prep during the regular season 19-38.
"We didn't have a whole lot of offense," Echeverria said, adding that one of their players scored 24 points against the Lady Vikes. "Our goal is going to be to stop her and try to make the other girls beat us. We are a lot better offensively than we were back in December."
He said that the Lady Vikes' goal for this year and for the last few years was to qualify for the state tournament and they are right there.
"To get into the sectional tournament is a big accomplishment," Echeverria said.