PRESCOTT VALLEY Things were looking pretty bleak for No.12 Holbrook midway through its Division III quarterfinal game against No.4 Tuba City. Holbrook came back from halftime down just six, but didn’t score a point for the first five minutes of the third and trailed by 13.
Then, as it had in its two previous state games this year, Holbrook kicked it into gear, engineering a 45-43 comeback win Monday at Tim’s Toyota Center to punch a ticket to the state semifinals.
Coach Greg Perkins said he thinks it’s only the program’s second time among the final four teams vying for a state title. Holbrook (23-12) will play the winner of Safford and Winslow at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale.
“Tuba’s a very good team,” Perkins said. “They’ve been playing extremely well. Our girls found a way.”
Holbrook’s rally started with back-to-back-to-back three-point possessions late in the third quarter. Senior guard Starla Smith converted a three-point play and then Teyah Goldtooth and Brittany Baldwin hit consecutive three-point shots.
That cut the Tuba City lead to 36-30 with 1:18 left in the third.
“We’ve shot over 750 3’s, which is incredible and kind of scary,” Perkins said. “(Goldtooth and Baldwin) are big shooters when they need to be. They were huge, they got us back in it and got us some momentum going back. It was big.”
Tuba City (26-8) led 38-30 entering the fourth, but its offense suddenly went dead. Holbrook started the final period on a 12-2 run to take a 42-41 lead that it wouldn’t relinquish.
Not to say things weren’t hairy late. But Holbrook hit just enough free throws to keep it out of reach, none more important than the 1-of-2 trip to the line by Kaynasa Curely with 39.8 seconds left to put Holbrook up 45-41.
Goldtooth lead Holbrook with 13 points, and Smith had 11, all in the second half.
Smith has taken on a bigger role in recent games with starting point guard Jessica Paz nursing but still playing on a strained Achilles tendon.
“She’s really come on the last three or four games of the year,” Perkins said of Smith.
Tuba City was led by Shiniya Henry with 11 points.