Girls basketball games to watch this week
There is a light docket of regular season (non-tournament) girls basketball games this week as several schools are in the Nike Tournament of Champions, a couple other smaller-scale tournaments throughout the Valley or starting holiday breaks.
But there a few pretty good ones (all records are unofficial and all games at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted):
Red Mountain at Mountain View: Outside possible tournament games this feels like the runaway best game of the week in the East Valley. The Lions (8-2) are coming off a big clunker against Sierra Vista Buena (57-31 loss) and Greg Sessions’ team’s only other defeat was by a single point against Phoenix North two weeks ago. They’ll have their hands full with Mountain View’s backcourt. Henry Bribiescas’ squad has won five consecutive games (including a win against Xavier) since returning from the La Jolla Country Day tournament in California. This will be a good tuneup for the Toros (7-4) before they begin the Nike Tournament of Champions tournament on Thursday against national competition.
Queen Creek at Skyline: Skyline got off to a rough start to its season during the Queen Creek tournament around Thanksgiving, and in fact the Coyotes lone win for the first three weeks of the season was against Show Low (Div. III). Another seven-game losing streak immediately followed that win, but the Coyotes went down to the wire in a few of those losses. A nice win against Gilbert ended the losing run followed by another win against Alhambra before Highland won handily late last week. It’ll be the Coyotes last game until Jan. 8. Queen Creek has had three- and four-game winning streaks, and losses to Xavier and Arcadia early on are hardly worth scoffing over. The Bulldogs lost a close call (34-29) to a solid Saguaro team last week, and a 2-0 end to 2012 (vs. Skyline and San Tan Foothills) will make a three-week hiatus palatable.
Mesa at Westwood: The other Mesa schools matchup this week, and while Mountain View-Red Mountain deservedly will get more fanfare, this one could be equally close or even better on the final scoreboard. This is already the third meeting of the year between these schools. Westwood took the first round, 40-29, just before Thanksgiving during the Queen Creek tournament as Kianna Isles (13 points, eight rebounds) and Paige Wagner (11 points) led the way. Mesa (7-8) returned that favor last week with a 40-38 win, led by freshman Carley Turnbull’s 20 points.
Red Mountain at Gilbert: Win or lose against Mountain View on Tuesday, and with the holiday break looming, this could be a “trap” of sorts for Red Mountain. Add in the fact that Red Mountain beat Gilbert, 55-47, last week, and all the ingredients are there. The Tigers (2-8) have had a pretty terrible time so far. A close win over Mesa in the Queen Creek tournament and a win against Desert Ridge have only temporarily interrupted losing streaks, including a current three-game slide. Playing in the Payson Tournament between Christmas and New Year’s could help.