PRESCOTT VALLEY – Losing three-year starting point guard Colleen Young to an ACL injury at the beginning of the season was a big blow to the Gilbert Christian girls basketball team.
Quickly, the team had to figure out a way to succeed without one of its biggest stars.
Gilbert Christian went 23-5 in the regular season and played well enough to earn a berth in the Division IV state tournament.
And Thursday, the No. 4 seed edged one step closer to its goal of a state championship, taking the lead early and holding off a late run by No. 10 Tempe Prep to capture a 50-36 win in quarterfinals at Tim’s Toyota Center.
Gilbert Christian moves onto the semifinals where it will face the winner of the game between top-seeded Elfrida Valley Union and No. 8 Duncan.
“We’re thrilled to have gotten through that one because that was a big test for us today,” Gilbert Christian coach Daryl Young said.
Led by sophomore Cassidy Curtner and freshman Lauryn Satterwhite, who combined for 18 points in the first half, Gilbert Christian took control early, taking a 10-point lead into the locker room.
But, Tempe Prep hung around in the second half, igniting on a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter that brought the No. 10 seed to within five points with five minutes remaining.
“Part of the reason they crept in is that we didn’t take care of the ball,” Young said. “We were hurried a little bit. They started upping pressure that they hadn’t done earlier in the game, and some of our girls were surprised by it a little bit.”
Tempe Prep’s Camille Zimmerman was another reason for the comeback attempt. She had seven points in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 20.
Gilbert Christian went on to outscore Tempe Prep 13-4 in the final five minutes of the game to seal the victory.
Satterwhite finished the game with 25 points and three steals for Gilbert Christian and Curtner had 16 points.
Young said getting past Tempe Prep was a big confidence boost for Gilbert Christian, but with many of the top teams still alive in the tournament, he remained focused on the work ahead.
“We’re still on a mission,” he said. “It’s not over.”