Tempe Prep girls earn shot to repeat in final

Tempe Prep girls earn shot to repeat in final

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Tempe Prep girls earn shot to repeat in final

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— It’s a role she’s unaccustomed to, but you’d hardly know that Tempe Prep senior Marissa Rich is new to life in the post by her showing in Friday’s Division IV girls basketball semifinal, in which Tempe Prep beat Duncan 46-30.

As the postseason approached, the Tempe Prep coaching staff tinkered with the idea of taking Rich off the wing and anchoring her in the post. The strategy has given star Camille Zimmerman more touches, yet doesn’t compromise the size of the team’s frontline. Both players stand 6-foot-1.

Rich has thrived in the new scheme, assisting on her team’s first two baskets then adding a game-high 20 points as Tempe Prep earned a return trip to the Division IV finals. Tempe Prep will face Salt River in today’s 10 a.m. final on the same court.

“She’s so key to what we do,” Tempe Prep coach Nancy Calahan said of Rich. “Camille will always get her points, even if she’s triple-teamed. But you can’t be a one-man show. You have to be balanced, and our seniors really stepped up.”

Zimmerman did get her points, a dozen in fact, including a scintillating halfcourt shot just seconds before halftime that put Tempe Prep up 31-14.

But Rich, Lisa Dischinger (10 points) and Mikaelah Robledo — who played her first game in two weeks after suffering an ankle injury — gave Tempe Prep the balance it needed.

“Once we get in the flow, that means we’re controlling our offense,” Rich said. “When we run our offense, we don’t force things and we get a good shot. If we start off with a good flow, we’ll most likely win.”

Duncan coach Brandy Stacy told her club to turn up the pressure to combat Tempe Prep’s size, and Duncan put together a pair of runs to keep things interesting. Jadyn Sexton led Duncan with eight points while Kylee Jones and Monique Montoya each added six.

“But their size was too much,” Stacy said. “And they’re athletic, too. It’s not like they’re slow.”

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