Rock Point Lady Cougars bring home 1A State title for third time
PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. — The Rock Point Lady Cougars are the 1A State Champions, bringing home the coveted title for the third time.
The Rock Point girls' determination paid off Feb. 18, when they defeated Joseph City 49-45, and posted rare, back-to-back 1A State Championship titles. It was also their third championship win in four years.
Joseph City had to contain Arianne Begay, who had scored 36 points the previous day, in their semi-final win over Fort Thomas. Their strategy worked, for a time.
"In the second quarter, Arianne told me that she couldn't hit anything, Rock Point Coach Andrew Reed said.
"I told her to make up for on the other side, rebound, hustle, and take care of the ball," he said. "Arianne isn't a selfish player, she's one of the best I've ever coached."
Begay and teammate Taylyn Woody did just that. They each hauled in 15 rebounds, dished off to other team members, and handled the ball well.
By halftime Rock Point had a solid 34-18 lead. Midway through the third quarter, Joseph City had trimmed the lead to 10. They continued to force Rock Point to back court turnovers and score easy buckets off the steals. With three minutes left in the third period, they'd slashed the Lady Cougars lead to two.
"I told my girls to keep their composure, to just play our game," Reed said. "They needed to stay calm, and keep the same intensity, and they did."
The Cougars battled back, and extended their lead to 42-34 by the end of the third quarter. During the fourth quarter Joseph City put together one last drive to cut the lead to four. But the Cougars held on to secure the championship win.
In the semi-final game against Fort Thomas the previous day, the Lady Cougars dominated from the onset.
Rock Point was off to a strong start, largely on the strength of Begay's hot hand. Begay hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter alone, and added another early in the second quarter. She finished the game with a career-high 36 points.
The team finished the season undefeated with a 16-0 record. They will lose seven seniors to graduation this year.