One outing removed from a controversial 68-point victory in which his charges employed a “full-court defense” deep in the contest, Phoenix Desert Vista interim girls basketball coach J’ontar Coleman insisted he didn’t do anything differently in his team’s follow-up performance.
The Thunder still easily cruised to a 79-51 victory at Maricopa on Friday night, but the score wasn’t nearly as lopsided, a fact that Coleman credited to Maricopa’s offensive execution and his team’s occasional lapses.
“That’s our style of basketball,” Coleman said. “We didn’t technically run up the score (on Tuesday). We played a full-court man-to-man. I tell my girls to play defense for 32 minutes. Every game is a playoff game.”
Desert Vista (16-8) had come under fire after a 98-30 victory over Tempe McClintock on Tuesday, one in which the Thunder kept applying pressure late. There was some second-half pressure on Friday with the contest well in hand, but Coleman did call off the full-court assault.
Still, there’s no disputing the team’s turnaround after a rocky start; Coleman’s club has now won three straight and 10 of its past 13.
“We played aggressive in spurts,” he said of the win. “That’s the way we’ll get far in the playoffs. That’s the way we’ll get a higher seed. We need to play aggressive.”
Give Maricopa (15-10) credit. Despite the large deficit, there wasn’t any quit in coach Jenn Miller’s team. In fact, Maricopa kept trying to attacking the second-half pressure as Jahnei Johnson had nine of her team-high 14 points after the intermission. Brianna Estrada buried a 3-pointer as the third-quarter button sounded, pulling Maricopa to 72-42, but the verdict had already been cemented.
Jayla Brown had 21 points to lead Desert Vista while Emily Wolph added 18 points, including a pair of first-half 3-pointers that extended the lead. Kylie Butler also added 17 points for Desert Vista, which faces more challenges next week as Xavier and then arch-rival Mountain Pointe round out the schedule.
Again, Coleman stressed that his team can persevere if it plays with intensity at the defensive end.
“We played well down there, but Maricopa played a pretty good game, too,” Coleman said. “We think we can score on anybody in Arizona, but we’re trying to get everything on defense. If we make some stops, it’s easy for us to get transition baskets on offense.”