PRESCOTT VALLEY – Winslow senior Mattea Begaii didn’t shoot like this when Safford coach Robert Abalos scouted the Division III top seed in its second-round win over Monument Valley on Saturday.
He knew she was a shooter, sure, but Begaii really drove the point home Monday, scoring 20 points and hitting five 3-pointers to lead Winslow to a 58-26 win over No. 8 Safford in a quarterfinal game at Tim’s Toyota Center.
The five treys are just one fewer than Begaii’s career high, set earlier this season against Flagstaff Coconino.
“Mattea had kind of a quiet game (against Monument Valley),” Winslow coach Jerron Jordan said. “But she came out on fire tonight.”
Winslow will face No. 12 Holbrook in the semifinals at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale.
Begaii was as unstoppable as Abalos had hoped his junior daughter, 5-10 forward Jordan, would be. Jordan came into the game averaging 19.9 points a game, but managed just 11 in the loss.
Of course, down nights happen when you have two people guarding you much of the time. Winslow sold out on stopping Abalos, often bringing help when she was tossed the ball in the post.
“No matter where she caught the ball, we were going to bring help,” Jordan said. “If another girl burned us, we’d take our chances.”
Winslow (25-5) remained unscorched. Safford (27-7) expected the double teams, and has beat them before by kicking out to open shooters on the perimeter.
The shooters were open against Winslow. But the basket was closed, and Safford went just 3 of 14 from behind the arc.
“We’d seen the same kind of defense, but we were able to hit some outside shots,” Robert Abalos said. “We had the outside looks tonight, but the difference was nobody really stepped up from the outside to make those open 3-pointers.”
Safford held an early 7-5 lead before Winslow kicked it into gear, scoring 16 unanswered points spanning the first and second quarters.
By halftime the lead was at 17. Entering the fourth, it was at 29.
“We threw the book at them,” Robert Abalos said. “We threw every offense, every defense, every type of thing that we had, and they never hesitated nor buckled. They just made the adjustment as the game went on.”
Marcella Joe added 13 points for Winslow, and Halle Hayes had 10.