Don Ketchum
Former Staff Writer,

Peoria girls benefit from early hoops lead, hold on for win

January 13, 2014 by Don Ketchum, AZPreps365

The girls basketball team from Peoria High appeared to be just a few moments and one point away from grabbing a 30-point lead over Phoenix Greenway early in the fourth quarter and setting up a running clock.

Instead, the Panthers soon were running for their lives.

Greenway went on a 17-2 spree in the final 4:34, but Peoria held on for a 78-65 victory over the visiting Demons on Monday night (June 13).

Peoria raised its record to 15-3, while Greenway dropped to 6-8.

“We lost a bit of our focus,’’ said Peoria coach John Canale, seeming a bit relieved that there wasn’t any more time left on the clock.

Canale added that his team was fortunate to connect on many of its 3-point shots (the Panthers made eight).

His team is very unselfish, he said, and is learning to play without post player Precious Jackson, who suffered a torn ACL in her knee during the championship game of the (Phoenix) Arcadia holiday tournament won by Scottsdale Saguaro.

Taylor Blue, a hybrid inside-outside player, led Peoria with 29 points. Guard Alexis Camacho scored 19 and made some decent passes to set up teammates. And inside player Chayrel Yazzie scored 15.

Sierra Michael led Greenway with 14 points, Jordyn Kesler-Kline scored 13 and A.K. Kennedy scored 10.

Yazzie scored on a follow-up shot with about 4:40 left in the game to give Peoria a 76-48 lead. The Panthers led by 29, 74-45, a few moments earlier.

Greenway then went on its run, with Kennedy scoring all of her 10 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers. But the Demons had dug themselves too big of an early trench.

Greenway’s record appears deceptive. If it is able to reach the state tournament, it has the talent necessary to do some damage.

Peoria, meanwhile, will keep plugging along.

“We have to have more fundamentals,’’ Canale said. “We have to box out better on the boards and have better ball-handling.’’