WEST VALLEY PREPS

HOOPS SCHOOL: Deer Valley girls topple Seton

Both Skyhawks basketball teams now ranked No. 1 in 4A

Posted 1/22/22

Deer Valley basketball features a stifling halfcourt defense that can shut down even the best attacks.

And we're not talking about the boys team.

On Jan. 20 the No. 2 Skyhawks hosted top-rated Chandler Seton Catholic

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WEST VALLEY PREPS

HOOPS SCHOOL: Deer Valley girls topple Seton

Both Skyhawks basketball teams now ranked No. 1 in 4A

Posted

Deer Valley basketball features a stifling halfcourt defense that can shut down even the best attacks.

And we're not talking about the boys team.

On Jan. 20 the No. 2 Skyhawks hosted top-rated defending champion Chandler Seton Catholic in a 4A showdown.  The Skyhawks were slightly more stingy, winning 32-29 before a rowdy crowd to take the No. 1 spot the next morning.

"Honestly it fwlt good to know my school supports me. That's not really shown a lot in girls basketball but they proved it can be changed and people can start watching us," junior point guard Eliyah Brosseau said.

Defense gave Deer Valley the lead with about three minutes left, as senior Galilea Rivero stole the ball from Seton in its backcourt and quickly whipped a bahind-the-back pass to Brosseau for a layup and a foul.

That gave Deer Valley a 29-26 lead, but Brosseau missed the free throw. That started a string of nine free throw misses in 10 attempts.

"Overall we're a pretty good free throw shooting team. We were just a little off tonight. I think our legs were a little tired from having to work so hard defensively. Normally we don't have to put so much pressure on the basketball," Deer Valley girls basketball coach Dawn Almanzan said. "Going forward we'll definitely lock it down on the free throws. We have some drills."

Yet Deer Valley (16-2 overall, 10-0 regular season) never lost the lead despite the  foul line disaster and junior center Michaela Lee's four fouls.

All Seton (14-5, 10-1) could muster in the final minutes was a layup by sophomore center Caitlyn Benally and one of two free throws by freshman forward Mia DiPuccio. Deer Valley was determined not to let senior guard Sadsha Daniel beat them and it worked - the 15.6 point per game scorer was limited to nine points and only two in the fourth quarter.

"We've definitely used the last six weeks to prepare for this game because we  felt like this was going to be our true competitive point," Almanzan said. "With Sasha, she's definitely an amazing player but one thing we have is players that can match up with her. I think that's something Seton really hasn't seen this year." 

Both teams' defensive strong suits gave the other offense fits.  Daniel and freshman guards Sophia Morales and Patsy Van Arsdale pressed up on Brosseau, Rivero and sophomore guard Nadya Gutierrez once they crossed half court and making most possessions a struggle and forcing 18 Skyhawks turnovers.

Conversely, the Deer Valley guards could gamble in the passing lanes with junior Lee patroling the entire paint.

Brosseau and Rivero had six steals each. Lee made five of her six blocks in the first half and altered countless other shots.

"Honestly, it's such a relief to know Michaela has my back always. It's such a nice feeling because sometimes you get beat and you'll always have help defense," Brosseau said.

Almanzan said Brosseau controls the offense and did a good job sticking to the game plan and slowing things down.

Rivero led all scorers with 10 points, while Rivero added 8 points and eight rebounds and Gutierrez chiiped in with 6. Lee had a hard time finishing against Seton's multiple post players but led all players with 13 rebounds.

"We always teach that what she says goes. If she is not attacking the rim they know not to attack the rim," Almanzan said. "They were very disciplined. We stayed back a little bit because I wanted to make sure we were reading the defense properly before we started attacking the rim. We wanted to make sure our shot selections were affective of just throwing it up - which we have a habit of doing."

It was a rare night when both Deer Valley basketball teams weren't playing.  The boys team joined the student section and welcomed the girls to the No. 1 club - the boys moved to No. 1 in 4A Tuesday.

While the boys team has been a contender for most of the past decade, this is Deer Valley girls' first chance in the spotlight. They are enjoying it.

"The school really pushed for the support and that's the first time since I've been here that I've seen that much support in the stands. The band came through and we got connected with the cheerleaders. We, as a team, are trying to build a culture of unity whereas before it was separated," Almanzan said. "Playing at home against them with the support we had definitely helped ius pull through.'

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