Phoenix Mountain Pointe’s visit to Chandler Hamilton on Friday had all the billing of a great girls basketball game.
Both carried records of 18-3. Mountain Pointe was ranked fourth in Division I in the latest Arizona Interscholastic Association and MaxPreps power rankings, and Hamilton was seventh.
For the first 16 minutes of play, the game was everything it was supposed to be. And then came the second half, when Mountain Pointe imploded and Hamilton cruised to a 71-44 win.
“Tonight just seemed like a flat night a little bit in that second half,” Mountain Pointe coach Trevor Neider said. “The girls got frustrated with themselves a little bit, and Hamilton got on a roll and took advantage of it.”
There may have been signs along the way such a clunker of a half was coming. Neider was less than impressed with his team’s practice this week. When asked before the game if his squad was healthy, Neider replied, “Physically or mentally?”
And when two of his players seemed to start the second half three or four seconds after everyone else did, Neider reminded them that they, too, had to play basketball.
Four Hamilton players scored in double figures, lead by Shelby Hartman’s 21 points. Alexa Hogberg had 14, and Aliyah Dickson and Kyndall Adams had 14 and 13, respectively.
Hamilton led by just a point after a quarter, and by six at halftime. Midway through the third quarter, Mountain Pointe post Monay Mariscal cut the lead to seven. But Hamilton outscored Mountain Pointe 31-11 the rest of the way.
Both coaches agreed the gap between the two teams is much smaller than the 27 points that separated them Friday. Despite the blowout result, Hamilton coach Jeff Kain was pleased to finally play some tough competition.
“It was just a good one to kind of see where are right now and see what we need to improve at, and see where they’re at, too,” Kain said. “We might meet them down the road.”